Tag Archives: lyle sclair

Study: Bell Boulevard needs nearly a thousand more parking spots

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alina Suriel

Confirming what many Baysiders already believed to be true, a study concluded that Bell Boulevard needs nearly one thousand more parking spaces to meet the needs of shoppers, commuters and residents alike.

The study commissioned by the Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID) and funded by City Councilman Paul Vallone continues the process of finding a solution to overcrowded parking conditions on the boulevard.

According to the report released this week, approximately 3,400 spaces are needed in total to accommodate all of the parking needs, but only 2,500 of those spots are currently available. Issues of short parking supply on Bell Boulevard arise from the multiple different functions which the strip serves in the community, attracting thousands of people and their vehicles to the area every day.

Lyle Sclair, executive director of the Bayside Village BID, emphasized how important it was to organize a plan to alleviate the parking strain on all of the different demographics using Bell Boulevard.

“We have to understand how to balance that without putting undue pressure on any group,” Sclair said. “I don’t think anyone would tell you that parking was working for any one group.”

Of the total 3,400 needed spots, an estimated 1,400 are generated from commercial and office uses on the boulevard. Another 1,033 spots are needed for commuters, with 23 percent of Long Island Rail Road users connecting to the Bayside station by driving themselves alone and parking their cars in the neighborhood.

An additional 1,000 vehicles were also factored in for residents who live in the area. While there are approximately 1,713 registered vehicles in the study area, many of them are parked off-street in private driveways or garages.

Several options were introduced in the study for both long- and short-term solutions to ease the scarcity of parking spot in Bell Boulevard.

“We don’t want to recreate the wheel but you have to look at every possible solution out there,” Sclair said, “and that’s what we’re trying to do with the parking plan.”

One of the solutions explored in the study was to construct a parking structure in an appropriate site, with the current location of the Department of Transportation Municipal Lot used as an example. A private developer or the BID would have to build the structure as the Department of Transportation does not perform that service, and this would have a price tag of around $10 million in city permits and design and construction costs.

A long-term surface parking lot was also looked at as a possible solution in the study. This could cost around $5 million in construction costs without factoring in the cost of the real estate, and would involve a private developer acquiring multiple local properties for the project.

“We looked at all of those programs to see what was reasonable, and what was feasible,” Sclair said. “You want as many ideas out there as possible, so you can actually get things done.”

To download the complete parking study and read more information about local parking, visit the Bayside BID’s website.


Bayside Village BID to hold April 14 hearing on local parking woes

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Those having a hard time finding parking near Bayside’s Bell Boulevard can vent their frustrations at a special public hearing the Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID) will hold on the topic on Tuesday, April 14.

Residents, drivers and merchants alike are invited to attend the session scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. at Bayside United Methodist Church, located at 38-20 Bell Blvd.

The Bayside Village BID, with the assistance of Councilman Paul Vallone, recently hired an engineering firm to examine parking problems in the area around Bell Boulevard and form potential short- and long-term solutions. It is reportedly part of a revived attempt to fix parking problems in the area launched more than a decade ago.

In a letter, Bayside Village BID Executive Director Lyle Sclair said that attendees will learn information on some of the “best practices from across the region.” BID members and residents can also share their ideas and input on how to ease the pain for all drivers.

Meanwhile, Sclair urged local businesses to sign a pledge that they would keep spots in front of their shops free as much as possible.

“Many of the business owners signed a pledge that they and their workers would not park on Bell Boulevard in the metered spots that are designed for customers,” Sclair wrote. “We understand that you may need to use the parking in front of your business for pickups and deliveries. The pledge is not meant to discourage you from using the space in front of your store for business operations, but once you are done, please move your car to the surrounding side streets.”

BID members who cannot attend the April 14 meeting may schedule one-on-one consultations regarding the plan earlier that day from 3 to 6:30 p.m. at the BID’s office located at 213-39 39th Ave., Suite 310.

For more information, click here or call 718-423-2434.


Bayside outdoor concert series to start next month

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Get ready to rock, Bayside.

The Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID) signed a lease with the MTA for the small green space on 41st Avenue adjacent to the LIRR station house, hoping to hold an outdoor concert series this year and other activities, officials said.

The BID sent out a request for proposals, seeking a contractor to clean up and maintain the area. They hope to choose a contractor soon, and begin the concert series in August on Thursday nights, featuring local performers such as Baysider Michael Kormusis, who goes by the stage name The Mikey K Project.

Because the area is small, officials don’t expect to draw a big crowd, but to attract people to the area and nearby Bell Boulevard as they commute.

“What we are looking to do with that property is to have a pass-by space to slow people down as they are getting on or off the train,” said Lyle Sclair, the executive director of the BID.

Since two years ago, the BID has used the space for its holiday lighting show by dressing up the spot’s evergreen, and adding a nativity scene and menorah. In the future, they plan to collaborate with local organizations to promote services and add other activities.

In the meantime, BID officials are just focused on cleaning up the property, which is unkempt with an uncut lawn.

“Right now we just want to make sure the property look good,” Sclair said. “We just don’t want it to be a dead space in the community.”



Bayside BID seeks to display borough’s creative minds in arts fair

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Queens artists looking for their big break can find it in Bayside.

The Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID) wants the borough’s creative minds to display their original work during its upcoming third annual Arts and Crafts Festival.

“We’re excited,” said Lyle Sclair, the BID’s executive director. “It really just provides an opportunity for people to plan a day to just stroll up and down Bell Boulevard and see what they have in their backyard.”

The outdoor art show will be held April 26 from noon to 5 p.m. near the Bayside Long Island Rail Road station.

Local artisans — selling anything from paintings, clothing, jewelry, sculptures and photography — are wanted.

Last year, about 15 vendors took part in the festival. Sclair said he hopes to double the number this spring.

“After such a long winter, we want to bring people back to Bell Boulevard and walk the streets,” he said.

Those interested can call the BID at 718-423-2434 or click here.



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.

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 director vows to better biz

| lguerre@queenscourier.com


Bayside business and property owners were introduced to Lyle Sclair, the new executive director of the Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID), who discussed plans for the BID’s future.

Sclair, who succeeded recently-ousted Gregg Sullivan, was presented to a packed room of more than 50 BID members at All Saints Church on Tuesday, May 8.

He was chosen “based on his qualifications and his ideas,” said BID Chair James Riso, who held the final interview with Sclair. “Right at the table he knew what a BID was. He came into the meeting with fresh ideas.”

Sclair holds a degree in urban planning from New York University. He has experience as an economic development associate in Brooklyn and has worked with four BIDs.

He pledged to gathered entrepreneurs that he will cooperate with them to make them money, bring more customers to Bell Boulevard and transform Bayside into “a model retail” area not only for Queens, but all of New York City.

“You have a room full of engaged business individuals who want to make a difference and want to see their businesses succeed,” Sclair said. “So I think we have a lot of opportunity to go forward.”

He gave a run-down of plans for the future, including each member getting a free expo table at the upcoming June Art Fair, an event called “Roll Up the Gate” in September to have all property owners conduct a marathon open house and a plan to get patrons to flood Bayside restaurants in October during the Queens Economic Development Corporation’s Restaurant Week.

“Once I understand your challenges we can understand what reflective strengths are to address those,” Sclair explained. “It’s my job to make you money.”

Sullivan, who was at the meeting, approved his replacement as he acknowledged the goal of the BID is to make Bayside better.

“Seems like a wonderful gentlemen,” Sullivan said. “I already wished him the best of luck, told him I would offer him my support.”

After the event, Sclair said the goal is get to another level.

“Bayside is a very good shopping district,” Sclair said. “Other communities are saying that they want to be like Bayside — they want to be better than Bayside. We have to be better than ourselves.”

Bayside Bid Battle Brewing

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com


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.”