While many politicians are spending most of their time campaigning during this time of the year, Village Trustee Vincent Grasso can focus his energy elsewhere. And where he has decided to focus his energy is on the people of Valley Stream.
Grasso hosted his third question and answer forum at Sip This on Rockaway Avenue on Oct. 17 where residents sought information about, and made suggestions on how to improve, their village.
A major topic of discussion was the parking, or the lack there of, in the village. Grasso said the board is looking into raising the price of a two-year parking permit from $40 to $60, but Trustee Dermond Thomas asked to put a hold on the decision so the board could look into expanding residential parking.
Barry and Elaine Klein, who live in the Valley Park Townhouses, have three cars, but only two spaces. They rotate their three cars by having one parked in the municipal lot at the corner of South Franklin Avenue and West Jamaica Street. However, when there is a large funeral at the nearby Moore Funeral Home, the parking spots quickly disappear.
“Their lot across the street only handles so many cars,” Barry said of Moore Funeral Home, “but if they have a larger funeral we can’t get in.” He pointed out that those who attend funerals and use the municipal lot seldom have parking permits.
Grasso said he would ask code enforcement officers to monitor the situation over the next few days to see who is using the lot. “If it is folks who really shouldn’t be and they’re squeezing residents who buy permits, we’ll start issuing tickets,” he said. “People who pay for the permits should really get first dibs on the good spaces.”
Barry Klein also asked Grasso if the board has considered offering a discount to people who purchase multiple parking permits. Grasso expressed interest in the idea and said it’s open for discussion.
According to Grasso, the village board is pursuing passing a local law that would bring a hotel to the area, like a Holiday Inn Express, near the Long Island Rail Road Station off of South Franklin Avenue. “If you really try to have an event in Valley Stream there’s really nowhere to go,” he said. “You have to go outside the village.”
He added that the board is also looking into building a parking structure in the area, including a level of underground parking, to help alleviate the shortage of spaces.
“We have no where for company to park,” Elaine Klein said. “You have to have company pay meters on Saturday when you’re trying to have guests over.”
Grasso said the village needs to take better advantage of its location and its access to public transportation.
Grasso also touched on the newly reopened Community Center in Hendrickson Park. He said it is possible that the village could rent out rooms to people for gatherings and estimated one could host about 75-100 people in the largest room. Once again, concerns over parking arose.
Thirty-seven-year resident of Valley Stream, William Fifield, suggested issuing temporary parking passes to people who host parties at the administration building so they can distribute them to guests and Grasso liked the idea.
The village is also looking to reevaluate its parking lots as a whole, Grasso said. Some lots are empty throughout the day while others are full. Grasso added that some metered lots in the village are becoming residential lots, like the one on East Hawthorne Street.
Grasso, who hosts question and answer forums every few months at Sip This, implored those in attendance to spread the word about his next event so he can gain as much resident feedback as possible.