Plaza trustees question BID’s promenade plan

The Island Now

By Lauren Klose

Great Neck Plaza trustees expressed concern on Wednesday with a plan for all of the village’s summer promenades to take place in June this year instead of being spread out over the season.

The Great Neck Plaza Business Improvement District, which plans the village’s summer promenades, has proposed that only four promenades should be held this year, all in June, village Mayor Jean Celender said Wednesday.

Since the first promenades took place in 2007, village trustees have given their input to the Business Improvement District, or BID, and split the costs through the village’s entertainment budget. The events, similar to block parties, are a way to bring the community together and promote the businesses of downtown Great Neck Plaza, Celender said.

Celender said the Business Improvement District, which did not have members present at Wednesday’s meeting, believes higher attendance might occur during the month of June before most people go away.

“I raise the concern that June is a busy month and to have all of our summer efforts concentrated into one month might backfire on us,” said Celender. “I can understand why they want to have one or two before the kids go off to camp, but not everyone goes away.”

Some trustees said many of the schools are still in session and events such as graduation and prom take place in June.

Deputy Mayor Ted Rosen said that while having more promenades during the earlier weeks of the summer may be worth a shot, it shouldn’t be at the expense of having nothing planned for the rest of the summer.

The Business Improvement District recently held a meeting where it was mentioned that the promenades on Bond Street were over by 9 p.m. when in previous years they have gone till 10:30 p.m., Celender said. She suggested that adding new bands or providing more unique activities could draw a larger crowd. 

Most people who attended the Business Improvement District’s meeting were merchants and not the restaurants that play a huge role in the promenades, Celender said. Input from both restaurants and the community would be a good idea to have, she said.

“I’m not trying to throw a monkey wrench in what they are trying to do. We love the promenades,” Celender said. “I’m sure they will find a way to satisfy the merchants and the village board,” she said.

The Business Improvement District will be making a decision sometime in April.

Some BID members thought four June promenades might have higher attendance because the weather is more favorable and fewer people travel than in later months, Jay Corn, the Business Improvement District’s vice president, said.

But the plan is not set in stone, and the BID will continue to weigh its options, Corn said.

“Every time you plan something like this, an outdoor event, it’s a gamble,” he said.

The BID has sought feedback on the plans from village residents and many merchants, including restaurants, Corn said.

Also on Wednesday, the Board of Trustees passed the village’s 43rd Community Development Block Grant application to be submitted by the beginning of April.

Celender said two of the main focuses for the grant would be the repair of both Hillpark Avenue and Bond Street at a cost of $250,000, which would include fixing curbs, replacing sidewalks and repaving the streets.

The Great Neck Plaza trustees also swore in Michael Lifland of Port Washington to the Historic Preservation committee and reappointed Richard Shapiro to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

The discussion of local laws to amend the village code, which would provide certain incentives for affordable housing units in two zoning districts, was postponed until April 19.

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