Public pocket park potentially on the horizon for Middle Neck Road eatery

Robert Pelaez
A proposal for a pocket park in the southeast corner of parking lot 4 on Middle Neck Road was approved on Tuesday night by the Village of Great Neck Board of Trustees. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

Outdoor dining may be coming to a Middle Neck Road restaurant after the Village of Great Neck Board of Trustees authorized Mayor Pedram Bral to enter the village into a contract  to construct a pocket park in parking lot 4.

The proposal for the public pocket park along with tables for temporary outdoor dining  against the wall of Pizza Roxx, 509 Middle Neck Road, was presented to the board on Tuesday night.

Jon Kerendian spoke on behalf of the proposal, citing the need for outdoor dining to help Pizza Roxx maintain business despite the limitations caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re just trying to boost up the business so we don’t have to, unfortunately, close with everything that’s been going on,” Kerendian said.

According to Kerendian, the outdoor dining would be roughly four tables spread out six feet apart along the southeast wall of the side of Pizza Roxx to comply with social distancing guidelines.  He said metal bollards and planters could be used to separate the pocket park from the area with the tables.

One point of concern that Kerendian had is how guests would be able to safely enter the pocket park.  One potential solution was to block the pocket park off from the parking lot so that guests could only enter it from inside of the building by going out the back entrance. 

“It’s not something I would really want to be responsible for,” Kerendian said. “I just don’t know how comfortable people are entering consistently and going all the way to the back.”

Bral said plans for the pocket park had been previously discussed with village Public Works Superintendent Louis Massaro.

“That area could be nicely utilized, and I think we could use it as a pocket park,” Bral said.

After closing the public session briefly for advice of counsel, Bral re-entered the Zoom meeting and said the village will construct a pocket park to be used for the public with a walkway that leads behind all of the business from 501-509 Middle Neck Road.

“I’m going to ask [Massaro] to follow through and find a contractor who is actually going to do this,” Bral said. “We would probably have to move the cars back to provide enough walking space to the south side and it has to be done in a way to make it safe and appealing for people to walk through.”

Bral said he hopes to have “some major move” done by the end of the month.  Bral said the funds for the pocket park will “most likely” be coming out of the village’s parks fund, and would cost no more than $35,000.

Massaro said he would have an answer before the end of the week on how long the construction process would take.

“I don’t think it should be a lengthy process,” Bral said. “The moment we have numbers we should be able to go ahead.”

Trustee Norman Namdar made a motion to authorize Bral to enter into a contract with a vendor based on proposals rather than competitive bidding for a sum not to exceed $34,999 to construct a pocket park consistent with the sketches that have been provided to the village.  The motion was unanimously approved.

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