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Bell Blvd. slated to get old-fashioned face-lift

The Bayside Business Association, or BBA, hopes to make that vision...

By Kathianne Boniello

Imagine a Bell Boulevard lined with brick sidewalks, old-fashioned-style lamps and benches welcoming pedestrians to take a restful moment out of strolling down Bayside’s “Main Street.”

The Bayside Business Association, or BBA, hopes to make that vision of a new Bell Boulevard a reality by next spring, when construction is slated to start on the partially state-funded renovation project.

To help maintain the redesigned Bell Boulevard once the work is completed, Judy Limpert, co-president of the business association, said the BBA has been considering commissioning a study to see if a Bell Boulevard Business Improvement District could be established.

Limpert said the Bell Boulevard renovation and proposed business improvement district would benefit merchants, residents and pedestrians alike along Bell Boulevard between Northern Boulevard and 35th Avenue.

“The community feel will be here again,” Limpert said.

Dominick Bruccoleri, Limpert’s co-president in the BBA, said the Bell Boulevard renovation would bring back the small village atmosphere to Bayside.

“It will be a nice, comfortable, clean, welcoming environment,” he said.

State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) appropriated $500,000 for the Bell Boulevard face-lift in August 2000 to help get the project going, Limpert said.

The redesign of Bell Boulevard between Northern Boulevard and 35th Avenue is expected to add between 40 to 60 parking spots to the area, Bruccoleri said.

Construction is scheduled to begin next spring and to be completed in stages, Limpert and Bruccoleri said. Each stage will take a couple of months, they said, beginning near the Long Island Rail Road station and the area of Bell Boulevard between 41st and 42nd avenues.

Limpert said the BBA was seeking to reshape Bell Boulevard in the style of Forest Hills’ Austin Street or Franklin Avenue, in Long Island’s Garden City.

The BBA is expected to hold a meeting with civic and community leaders next month to get their input on the Bell Boulevard renovation, Limpert and Bruccoleri said.

If the proposed feasibility study for a new Bell Boulevard Business Improvement District finds support among the boulevard’s merchants and landlords, Limpert said the entire community could reap the rewards.

“The business improvement district would help maintain the boulevard and organize security, marketing and sanitation” for the renovated Bell Boulevard, Limpert said.

If the feasibility study falls through or does not find substantial overall interest in a business improvement district, Limpert said, the BBA would consider approaching landlords one by one to solicit interest in the idea.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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