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College Point Board of Trade seeks new leader

Board Chairman Tom Palma said Tuesday that although Mazzarello's death left the board without its most dedicated member, others within the organization have since picked up the slack in order to keep the group of more than 200 College Point businesses afloat."Most of the board members are business owners within the College Point area, so we don't have a lot of time to spend on it," Palma said. "Now that (Fred's) not there, a lot of board members are stepping up. We have to deal with it."Fred Mazzarello was 84 when he died Sept. 5 from a stroke. A lifelong College Pointer, he spent the last 36 years as president of the College Point Board of Trade, an organization made up of local businesses that he founded in 1969. "Fred volunteered probably 50 to 60 hours a week," Palma said. "What's missing now is the extra hours, time and involvement Fred had."Still, the board is far from defunct, Palma said. The normal procedures and meetings of the board are continuing in Mazzarello's absence, but Palma said Mazzarello's leadership is sorely missed."We miss him dearly," Palma said. "He was Mr. College Point himself. But there's no way we're going to let 40 years of that man's life go down the tubes just because he passed away."Before his death, Mazzarello ensured the completion of new street lights along College Point Boulevard, a major thoroughfare in the community that Palma said needs a Business Improvement District."The board is going to try to establish a BID because that's one way you can continue to help the small town shopping district," he said. "We want to see if there's anything we can do to get more businesses in College Point."He foresaw such a district stretching from 14th Avenue to 23rd Avenue on College Point Boulevard, where store owners would pitch in to maintain the shopping district.Other Mazzarello pet projects included efforts to restore the facades of the stores along College Point Boulevard and to clean up the waterfront along the coastal zones.Palma said he hoped the new executive director of the board of trade would oversee such projects by working about 22 to 25 hours a week, along with the board's administrative assistant, Sue Amberg."No one can fill Fred's shoes, that's for sure," Palma said. "But they can be there to report back to the board of trade and talk about what is being planned."Palma, a 30-year resident of College Point and owner of Ad Design, said those interested in applying for the job would likely be retired, community-minded people "looking to make a difference."For more information, contact the board of trade at 718-939-3393 or visit the Web site at www.collegepoint.org.Reach reporter Scott Sieber by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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