Tag Archives: Bayside BID

Bayside BID updates community on early results of parking study


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Finding parking on the Bell Boulevard commercial strip in Bayside is not for the faint of heart. It is tough.

And after months of collecting data for the Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID) parking study, consulting firms VHB and Desman Associates can clearly show how desperate the area is for more parking.

To summarize: from about midday through the night, parking spots on Bell Boulevard and even nearby side streets become filled to near capacity, causing congestion on the commercial strip, presenters said at a BID meeting on Tuesday.

“Nothing that you heard [at the meeting] was surprising,” said Lyle Sclair, the executive director of the BID. “But I think what is valuable is that we are quantifying it. I don’t think people know what a parking desert Bell Boulevard is.”

The BID’s study, which Councilman Paul Vallone allocated $20,000 to fund last year, is looking to find a solution to the parking mess, which is a result of local employees, shoppers, restaurant-goers, commuters looking to catch the LIRR and residents all fighting for spots.

At the meeting, representatives of the firms and BID members didn’t offer any concrete solutions to the problem, but introduced suggestions to residents and business owners and collected feedback for what residents would like to see.

The solutions at this point are theoretical, and broken into two groups: long-term and short-term plans. The short-term plans are cheaper and could be implemented toward the end of the year. They include changing the timing and pricing rate of meters on Bell Boulevard with the Department of Transportation to hasten the turnover rate of drivers, and using valet parking with private businesses that have lot space near Bell Boulevard.

The long-term solutions could take years and will be costly. Possibilities include the creation of a five-level private parking garage with 320 spaces, which could cost more than $15 million, or a mixed-used building with residential units, ground-floor retail and parking, which would run upwards of $40 million.

Some residents in the crowd weren’t too excited about the idea of building a structure or garage near Bell Boulevard, because they felt it wouldn’t deter commuters and employees who don’t live in the neighborhood from looking for free spots on residential streets.

Residents want to free up public parking spaces in front their houses, because some drivers occasionally block their driveways.

“We are going to take into consideration everything with the study that we do. Hopefully we can help that situation,” said BID President Dominick Bruccoleri. “The idea is to implement changes in our district that will help [the business] side not hurt [the residential] side.”

The BID is going to use feedback from the meeting to further discuss solutions. The study is expected to be completed by June.

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Bayside Business Association re-elects members, talks 2015 outlook


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos by Anthony Giudice

The Bayside Business Association (BBA) re-elected its slate of executive members and outlined its agenda for the next 12 months during the group’s annual membership and elections meeting on Friday at the Bayside Diner.

The meeting, run by BBA President Judith Limpert, kicked off with extensive networking between members and non-members of the board. Limpert then gave an overview of the BBA’s role in the community, and focused on how the BBA could be more involved in Bayside to better the businesses of the area.

“Now our focus is all Bayside,” said Limpert. “Our goal is to bring business and help the businesses in Bayside. It is not to bring in outsiders to compete with Bayside, that’s not what we want to do.”

Since its creation in 1997, the BBA has assisted with the overall planning and oversight of commercial and economic programs in Bayside; aided in developing a model shopping district that enables small businesses to compete in the marketplace; educated businesses to support their growth; and provided local businesses a voice in the community by joining forces with government agencies.

It has also been involved with many beautification projects that have benefited both businesses and the community, including street cleanings, tree plantings, holiday lighting and graffiti removal.

“We try very, very hard to give you a bang for your buck and make a community impact,” Limpert said. “We do a lot of seminars, we do a lot of business partnerships that benefit you as a member.”

The BBA is also involved in many fundraising events throughout the year that promote local businesses in Bayside and help the BBA pay for the many services it provides. One such event is the Taste of Bayside, which raised $3,800 last year, an annual golf outing and a day at the races event.

“Fundraisers are very community orientated and that’s why we love doing them,” Limpert said.

Councilman Paul Vallone was also in attendance and gave the BBA a quick insight into what his office is planning for in the coming year to help improve Bayside.

Councilman Paul Vallone

One of Vallone’s focuses is helping veterans.

“Of the $75 billion budget … the budget last year for veterans was $400,000,” Vallone said. “We have 200,000 veterans — that’s two dollars per veteran.”

Vallone also hopes to bring another high school into Bayside. With a shortage of high schools, both public and private, in the Bayside area, Vallone feels that students who go through the grammar school system in the community should have an opportunity to continue their education in Bayside.

“I am cautious,” Vallone said. “You always want the least impact to the community, but the greatest growth for our kids.”

Vice President Annie Tom announced that membership increased this year, but the organization has higher aspirations in 2015.

“In 2014, we added 20 new members,” Tom said. “Our 2015 plan is to get 50 new members. At one time we had over 200 members, and our plan in the near future is actually to get back to that level.”

Some of the benefits of being a member include admission to seminars featuring current topics of interest for business, such as how to use social media to grow their business; online advertising on the BBA website with a link to their business; networking opportunities; and helpful workshops.

“We need to reach out to our members, as well as the community, to let them know the value of being a BBA member,” Tom said.

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Bell Boulevard to partially close this Sunday for “Weekend Walk”


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Parts of Bell Boulevard will be closed off to traffic this Sunday for a multi-block party, city and local officials said.

The Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID) will hold its first ever “Weekend Walk” on September 29 from noon to 5 p.m.

There will be free fitness classes, dance performances, music acts and specials offered by businesses.

The event will be held on two blocks of the main commercial corridor from 39th Avenue to 41st Avenue.

Cars will not be allowed to park or enter from those avenues until 6 p.m.

Bell Boulevard has not been closed off for a community festival in more than 20 years, BID officials said.

A second event, the BID’s second annual “Sidewalk Sale,” will take place from Friday, September 27 to Sunday, September 29.

Officials said the two events are meant to increase foot traffic on Bell Boulevard and promote the wide variety of businesses on the popular strip.

There are more than 400 businesses and property owners from Northern Boulevard to 35th Avenue, officials said, including long established eateries, beloved bars and a host of stores and professional practices.

 

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Bayside BID board battle settled


| mchan@queenscourier.com

A bellicose battle on Bell Boulevard is coming to an end with the close of the Bayside Village BID’s contentious election.

Mitchell Catanzano won a spot on the board as the sole residential member, beating out former executive director Gregg Sullivan. Catanzano earned his first seat on the board with two proxy votes, according to the BID’s executive director Lyle Sclair, while Sullivan only had one after voting for himself.

A mix up involving two proxy votes during the initial July 16 election caused controversy within the board and its candidates, when Sullivan criticized the poor communication between himself and Sclair. Sullivan thought he’d be running for a Class B spot, but instead found himself on the Class C resident’s ballot.

Sullivan sent out a mass community email condemning the BID and calling for a debate last week, but he changed his tune soon after and withdrew his candidacy for a spot on the board.

“This has been really rough on me. I didn’t like the politics and how it was getting ugly,” Sullivan said. “Mitch is my friend. I stepped aside to give him a chance on the board and I’d like to move on. Right now, the best thing for Bayside is exactly what is taking place.”

Sullivan said he felt relieved in distancing himself from the BID, which he said would give him time to focus on his new business venture, BaysideLiveTV.com.

“Mitch is going to do great. I’m going to continue to serve Bayside. I couldn’t be any more pleased,” he said. “The whole town is awake and aware. They’ll be watching over the BID. It’s a great weight off my shoulders.”

Sclair said he didn’t think there was controversy in regards to the election and said the board was upfront, providing enough notification for people to sign up for nominations.

The executive director said over 40 percent of board members are serving for the first time, and he said he looks forward to a future of fresh faces.

“I think that’s a very good turnover rate. They’re already coming in with new recommendations, new suggestions,” Sclair said.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

EVENT of the DAY: Free Shakespeare in the Park: “Hamlet” 

Come enjoy a summer night with the Bard. Queens-based Hip to Hip Theatre Company presents a free performance of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy “Hamlet” at the Unisphere at Flushing Meadows.

[Click here for more info or submit your events]

Former Assemblyman Jimmy Meng charged with fraud 

Former State Assemblyman Jimmy Meng, the father of Congressional candidate Grace Meng, was charged with fraud Tuesday in an elaborate shakedown scheme. The Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s Office said Jimmy Meng promised a person who was indicted on tax charges that he could help by bribing prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. Read more: [NY1] 

Elderly Queens woman: Doc’s bad op cost me vision in left eye

An elderly Queens woman is suing her doctor, claiming a botched cataract operation cost her the sight in her left eye. Evalyne Chedda, 70, went to Dr. Alina K. Stanciu’s office in Forest Hills on Jan 18, 2010 for the operation. Read more: [New York Post]

UPDATE: Local leaders charge city snubbing them on possible Triumph of Civic Virtue move  

Snubbed community leaders said they have yet to hear from city officials who are mulling a plan to move the long-neglected Triumph of Civic Virtue statue from its perch outside Queens Borough Hall. The controversial statue, which has raised the ire of some people for its imagery, also has strong supporters who have been lobbying the city unsuccessfully for years to get it cleaned and restored. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

 UPDATE: Results still out in contentious Bayside BID election, but so is Gregg Sullivan: source 

More than a week after the only contested BID election in the city, Bayside business owners aren’t quite sure who won the contentious race — but the writing appears to be on the wall for Gregg Sullivan. A vocal critic of the Bayside Village Business Improvement District’s board, Sullivan will likely not win the seat he was seeking, according to a source familiar with the organization’s bylaws. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Bayside BID holds election, 1 position still undecided


| Phertling@queenscourier.com

Lyle Sclair, new executive director of the Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID), will look to bring variety to Bell Boulevard over the next several months.

The BID held a meeting on Monday to discuss Sclair’s future plans of “branding” the already popular area.

“It’s a place to conduct business,” Sclair said.

Sclair along with Chair James Riso and Councilmember Dan Halloran addressed board members, business owners and residents about upgrading the BID’s strip.

“We have a variety of shopping here on Bell,” Sclair said. “We need to bring out what your customers are looking for in a shopping environment.”

The annual board member elections were also held at the meeting, which resulted in four new uncontested members. Mark Boccia and John DeFina were elected to represent Class A property owners while David Lilienthal and Edward Teran were chosen to represent Class B commercial tenants.

Former executive director Gregg Sullivan stirred up some controversy by criticizing the poor communication between him and Sclair. Sullivan thought he’d be running for a Class B spot, but instead found himself on the Class C resident’s ballot.

Halloran quickly put an end to the controversy by proving that Sullivan did not meet the credentials for a Class B position. Due to a mix up involving the proxy votes of the election, the sole Class C position is still undetermined. Either Sullivan or Mitchell Catanzano will be elected to the final spot.

In addition, a few other individuals were unhappy with the lack of communication from Sclair and Riso, who will be stepping down from his position to join the board.

“The more the merrier,” Riso said to those who were unaware they could run for the board, encouraging them to run for a spot at next year’s election.

Sclair spoke about how an increase in communication between the board and the businesses could improve the strip. A weekly newsletter has been created under his power and improvements to the BID website are in the near future. He believes a team effort will lead them to success.

“It’s everybody together moving forward,” Sclair said.

City Comptroller John Liu also stopped by the meeting to speak about the current state of the city’s economy.

“We have to have policies that start reducing this wealth gap and start filling the middle class up,” Liu said.

Liu added that he was a critic of the city’s economic development policies but was pleased with what he saw on Bell Boulevard.

“Every time you come here, you see more businesses opening. I think that’s a good sign that the economy is going to pick up,” Liu said.

 

Bayside Bid Battle Brewing


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

DSC_0341

A business battle is brewing in Bayside.

Store owners on Bell Boulevard attended a meeting on April 18 organized by Gregg Sullivan – the former director of the Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID) – to address concerns about the current state of the organization. During the meeting, the BID members in attendance voted to reappoint Sullivan, who was fired on December 19.

The merchants’ complaints included a lack of information and response from the BID’s board since Sullivan’s firing, a blurring of the line between the BID and Bayside Business Association and ambiguity regarding the allocation of funds, including a reported 30 percent increase in the organization’s original $80,000 budget. No board members attended the meeting, although Sullivan claims to have invited them all.

“Bayside got lost, and it’s been unattended to and neglected,” Sullivan said. “We need to change that now. We need to reclaim Bayside and put it in the right direction.”
Claims were also made that some owners were unaware a BID existed or that they could apply for the right to vote. According to Sullivan, there are roughly 150 businesses in the BID – which is on Bell Boulevard from 35th Avenue to Northern Boulevard – and only 29 are signed up to vote.

“We need to unify and get everyone together as merchants and real estate owners and bring this back to life. We need to have organization, structure and passion and set a one-year plan in place,” said William Degel, a BID member who organized the meeting along with Sullivan. “Nobody has done anything [since Sullivan was fired.] There is no information and no communication. It’s like everything died.”

Degel, who owns Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse on Bell Boulevard, said he expects Sullivan to be reinstated and hopes to hold a meeting with the current board to gauge their interest in making improvements and increasing transparency. In the event the board is unwilling to negotiate, replacing the members entirely was discussed during the meeting.

The motion to reinstate Sullivan was introduced by Margaret Papacostas – BID member and owner of Azure clothing store – and subsequently seconded and approved by the 16 BID voters in attendance. No one opposed the motion.

Sullivan believes he was fired after the board discovered he sent a letter to the commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) complaining about the status of the BID. Although he claims he enjoyed working for members of the board, including BID President James Riso, Sullivan feels there may be a need for the infusion of new energy.

Riso says he was never invited to the meeting, and while Sullivan was well liked by business owners and energetic to the public, he was insubordinate behind the scenes. He also feels that the attacks on the BID have taken away from the organization’s ability to focus fully on improving business in the area.

Riso, who will step down in June due to fatigue, claims the BID’s budget was still $81,368 up until December 31, 2011, and that the board did everything expected of them at that time. With the recent increase in budget, the board hopes to accomplish more, according to Riso.

“We are not hiding behind a curtain doing secret things trying to get over on people,” said Riso. “I own a business on Bell Boulevard. I pay more taxes that anyone. We welcome people to help. Instead of having these secret meetings, help out. The people making these accusations are inhibiting us from progressing.”

Despite Sullivan’s claim that he has been reinstated to his former position, the BID recently hired an executive director. Lyle Sclair, a former economic development associate with the Brooklyn Economic Development Council, was named the new executive director of the BID on April 23. “My number one objective is to meet everyone and learn the challenges they are facing. I’m not out there to recreate the wheel, but really just to help them grow their businesses,” Sclair said. “Bell Boulevard has a great mix of restaurants, nightlife and shopping. It offers everything, so if you are looking for something you will find it on Bell Boulevard.”

Bayside kicks off holiday season


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Michael Pantelidis

Bayside residents and community leaders rang in the holiday season by lighting up the neighborhood.

The Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID) and Bayside Business Association (BBA) hosted their annual Holiday Tree and Menorah Lighting ceremony on November 29 at the BBA headquarters, located at 41-16 Bell Boulevard.

“This marks the start of the holiday season for Bayside,” said Judith Limpert, president of the BBA. “It is a beautiful village atmosphere here. I think today we are all way too dispersed and focused on things that aren’t relevant. Community and family are very important. We also hope to get people to understand that Bayside has a beautiful shopping strip. They should come here first, because they can probably get everything they need for their holiday shopping. The point of this event is to attract Baysiders to come out.”

Holiday lights were also recently installed by the Bayside BID above all the blocks of Bell Boulevard.

“This event only comes once a year, and it really is the beginning of the holiday season and the biggest season for businesses and restaurants here on Bell Boulevard,” said Gregg Sullivan, executive director of the Bayside BID. “Events like this and our street lights really improve business enormously and highlight Bayside.”

The neighborhood organizations were joined at the event by Councilmember Dan Halloran, Assemblymember Edward Braunstein, Father Brosnan from Sacred Heart Church, Father Byrnes from All Saints Episcopal Church and of course, Santa Claus.

“The celebration of light over darkness is what these holidays are all about,” said Halloran. “These lights symbolize that.”

During the ceremony, visitors were serenaded with Christmas carols, and children had the opportunity to tell Santa what gifts they wanted waiting for them under their tree this year. After the lighting, attendees were invited out of the cold and inside the BBA headquarters for hot chocolate and snacks.

“This is a wonderful event for [my goddaughter] to see the tree with all of this nice lighting,” said Rose Lynch, a Bayside resident for 45 years, who brought her goddaughter, Ashley, to the lighting ceremony. “It is a nice introduction to the holidays with spirit. I think this is a cute idea to come and meet Santa in a unique way, which is individual and small. It is delightful.”