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Bell Blvd. face-lift closer

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After a number of stops and starts, a Bell Boulevard beautification project appears to be ready to revitalize Bayside’s main drag.

At last week’s Community Board 11 meeting, the Bayside Business Association received approval for a plan to make the boulevard more pedestrian-friendly and a hotspot for businesses to thrive.

The streetscaping project includes a new sidewalk as well as new plantings, benches, lighting fixtures, garbage receptacles and 50 trees to line both sides of the boulevard from Northern Boulevard to 35th Avenue.

“It will make it more like a village, like it’s meant to be,” said Judith Limpert, the association’s president. “Restaurant row is already a beautiful place to eat. People can walk from their homes and not have to worry about parking.”

Limpert said the idea was conceived back in 2000, but a number of issues beyond the association’s control have delayed the project. With the community board’s approval, the plan now just needs to go to the city Departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection to be finalized.

She said former state Sen. Frank Padavan and Borough President Helen Marshall had been instrumental in obtaining funding thus far. Phase 1 of the streetscaping will be between 41st and 42nd avenues, a gateway to the shopping district due to the Long Island Rail Road station. Limpert said the BBA hopes this phase will be completed by next year, after which additional sources of funding will be sought for successive phases.

Working in conjunction with the BBA, the Bayside Village Business Improvement District will enter into a maintenance agreement with the city, according to Andrew Lavallee, the planning consultant who presented the application to the community board.

At the meeting, Chairman Jerry Iannece called it a “very, very important project.”

Prior to the streetscaping, Bell Boulevard will get a bit of a face-lift in August, when the DOT will repave the roadway from Northern Boulevard to 35th Avenue. Bayside Village BID President Gregg Sullivan had previously said this will alleviate drainage problems and make the area more pleasant for pedestrians.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Updated 10:52 am, October 12, 2011
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