Bayside civic leader Frank Skala and his civic association began courting business owners along Bell Boulevard this week, pushing them to join a group that he founded 10 years ago to restore Bell Boulevard.
While Bayside and Bell Boulevard appear to be doing just fine, with a relatively healthy economic climate, low crime and good schools, some community groups have been pushing for improvement of the communitys main commercial strip.
A Bayside Business Association-sponsored beautification of Baysides Main Street, complete with brick sidewalks, antique lighting fixtures and benches, was set to begin this spring. At the same time, the business group is looking for funding to clean and maintain the renovated area. It is also exploring interest in a Business Improvement District.
A longtime resident of the community and retired teacher, Skala has been a frequent critic of the five-year-old business association. In a newsletter circulated in the community this week, he began promoting his Bell Blvd. Restoration Coalition. Skala said the coalition has been in existence for about 10 years, although he offered no specific suggestions for alternatives to the BBAs proposals within his newsletter.
Skala said he shares the BBAs concerns about the community, including poor sanitation, a lack of parking, and waning pedestrian traffic on Bell Boulevard, but he does not agree with the groups proposed solutions, specifically the beautification process and the creation of the Business Improvement District.
In the newsletter, Skala said when the Bayside Business Association was organized five years ago, it was hoped that in cooperation with local residents its influence would be positive for the Bayside community. Unfortunately, that has not been the case.
While Skalas newsletter strongly criticizes many of the BBAs recent proposals for the community as exclusionary, the head of the business association welcomed the coalition.
The more people that work for the betterment of Bayside, the better off everyone will be, Bayside Business Association co-president Judy Limpert said.
The civic leader, who has been fighting to preserve the community since he helped form the East Bayside Homeowners Association 25 years ago, said the business associations plans favor millionaires who do not reside in the community and ignores the small merchants who make up the heart of the commercial strip.
Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2002 Community News Group
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