Floral Park Board of Trustees Reports Oct. 6

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Department of Public Works – Deputy Mayor Fitzgerald
Deputy Mayor Fitzgerald reported that the Department of Public Works has completed the drainage projects and the paving has been done. DPW crews are paving Larch Ave and milling is being done. Thanks to Kevin Ginnane for this. This paving project was born out of a request at a Civic association meeting, which reinforces the importance of the civic meetings and resident involvement.

Floral Park Fire & Police Department – Deputy Mayor Fitzgerald
The Mayor says you can never say thanks enough. Thank you to the Floral Park Fire Department and Floral Park Police Department for responding to the recent fire and for all that you do to protect and serve the Village of Floral Park. God bless them all and keep them safe. Thank you.

Trustee Pombonyo
Again, congratulations to Deputy Mayor Fitzgerald and Trustee Cheng. As the Mayor stated, there are no two finer people than these gentlemen who are also highly skilled and principled. We are blessed to have them on this Board of Trustees.

Covert Avenue Chamber of Commerce – Trustee Pombonyo
As everyone knows, a devastating fire took place on Covert Avenue on Sunday morning, September 27th. Many of our wonderful businesses were affected by this serious fire including the Park Place Restaurant, Villagers Perk, Luna Eyelashes, Capo Ristorante, Covert Nails, Covert Barber Shop, V.I.Pizza, Covert Optical and k.hunter Boutique. Sadly, several homes behind the businesses also suffered from the effects of the smoke and water. As of now, the businesses all remain closed at their Covert locations, but we are hopeful that they can resume providing the valuable services that we have grown to depend on and love. We will do all that is possible to make that happen.

The Floral Park Fire Department and Rescue Squad were joined in fighting this fire by numerous mutual aid departments from around the area. Members of the Nassau County Fire Marshal’s office were also on the scene. We thank all for their bravery and extraordinary efforts fighting and extinguishing this terrible fire. The Floral Park and Nassau County Police teamed to keep the area around the fire and the hundreds of people who were there safe. Our Floral Park Village Building Department and Department of Public Works were out in full force to check the safety of the buildings and participate in the clean-up. We are all grateful to our Village staff for their important work at the fire scene and going forward into the future.

Many of our businesses’ clientele and following have demonstrated their love and lent their support since the morning of the fire. Our Covert Avenue Chamber of Commerce continues to work to support all of our businesses. Please check the Covert Avenue Chamber Facebook page for the COVERT AVENUE STRONG message and ways that you can support the businesses affected by the fire. Each business’ website and/or Facebook page provides updates about the status. And take a moment to read all the heartwarming posts and messages of love, gratitude and support for our business owners.

Especially now, please take time to SHOP, EAT, SPEND AND ENJOY LOCAL. Support our businesses, now more than ever!

Recreation Department – Trustee Pombonyo
It continues to be a busy and beautiful fall at the Rec Center. Come down to take in a tennis match or one of our sports teams compete in baseball, softball, soccer, flag football and, coming soon, roller hockey, all played in accordance with the latest health and safety guidelines, and respective sport protocols.

Conservation Society – Trustee Pombonyo
Thanks go to all the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts who are completing their Eagle and Gold Awards with projects that will beautify Centennial Gardens, as well as the Scout troops and other organizations who are holding weeding and clean-up days. Come one and all to celebrate our beautiful Centennial Gardens, inside and out, during this colorful fall season!

Fire Department – Trustee Cheng
I am sure that all know about the Covert Avenue Fire on September 27 and our thoughts and prayers are with all of the store owners and their employees. We as a Village are here to help you in any way that we can.

For the past several months, I have thanked all of our first responders, especially the Rescue Company and other Fire Department members that assisted Rescue during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, tonight, I want to thank the entire Department for their work on the fire. I am so proud to be the Commissioner of our Fire Department. From start to finish the Department showed their skill, bravery, commitment, dedication and selflessness. They rushed out of their homes at 6:33 in the morning and most did not return home until early evening. Smoke and heat beat them up yet they got back on their feet and tried to save the buildings from total ruin. Our brave volunteers were on the roof cutting holes to ventilate and others were on the ground trying to advance into the buildings. I believe 5-6 tower ladders were up spraying water on the top of the buildings. Unfortunately, the buildings involved were built in the early 1900’s and shared a common cockloft or attic and most did not have firestops. This allowed the fire and smoke to travel through each of the stores. Thick metal ceilings above the more modern drop ceilings kept heat and fire in the attic area. At one point the Chiefs decided that it was unsafe to be on the roof or in the buildings and we all heard one of the scariest alarms of all, all trucks on the scene blasted their horns and sirens which is the signal for all to evacuate and get away from the buildings as soon as possible. Their decision certainly contributed to the fact that only 3 firefighters suffered injury or illness that day and at last report all are well. Sometime thereafter, there was a backdraft/smoke explosion that rushed through one of the buildings and out the front. Again, the words “thank you” seems so trite when you look at the job our volunteer firefighter neighbors did that day, but to the Department we express our gratitude and thanks.

Our thanks also go out to all of our neighboring departments for their assistance that day. 23 Fire Departments responded to our calls for assistance. There too many to list now but all of the First Battalion responded and units all the way out to Bellmore/ Merrick, Plandome and Uniondale came to our assistance. The mutual aid program works. It is quite possible that the vast majority of the Departments in Nassau County were also involved in this fire. The closer departments were at the scene. But that is not the end of the story. Many other departments were called in to backfill the departments that responded to Floral Park. Those other Departments were called in to protect the residents of those areas where their primary firefighters left their home areas to come to Floral Park. Again, all we can say is thank you to all for their sacrifice and service.

I also want to inform the Village that on October 11th at 10:30 AM a mass is scheduled at Memorial Park to honor our Police Department, Fire Department, First Responders, Nurses and Medical Personnel who valiantly served during the Pandemic.

Fire Calls for the month of September: Rescue – 84; Rest of the Fire Department – 19.
3rd Track & LIRR – Trustee Cheng
The latest updates are as follows:

Work is continuing at the MTA substation at Plainfield Avenue. Retaining and sound wall work will commence on the north side of the Right of Way on or about Mid November. Elevators will be tested in November. There is a possibility that the elevators will be operational in December.

Finally, we have been advised that the Bellerose LIRR station will be undergoing construction to reinforce and lengthen the platform. Work will begin at the end of October and last into the 1st quarter of 2021. During the project, the eastern ½ of the platform and the shelter area will be closed. Passengers riding eastbound will have to use the doors on the last four cars and passengers riding westbound will have to use the first 4 cars. The LIRR will announce through flyers, posters and announcements on the train when this occurs. Most of the staging will be done on the Bellerose side of the station but there will be disruptions of traffic on Atlantic Avenue. The LIRR has committed to providing flaggers and traffic personnel when Atlantic Avenue is impacted. Please see our website for further information.

Library – Trustee Chiara
Along with the many virtual programs that the Floral Park Library is offering, outdoor events on their lawn have been added for the fall. This week they had their first yoga class, which had a great turnout. The next class will be on Saturday October 10th at 10 am. Residents must register for the class online, at the reference desk, or by calling 516 326-6330. Registration closes at noon the Friday before the class.

For the children, the Library has created a story walk. A book has been laminated and presented page by page outdoors to promote reading and exercise. The book will be on the lawn daily until 5:30 pm. The title of the book is If the Dinosaurs Came Back, by Bernard Most. This event will continue until October 30th.

The Floral Park Library is part of the Nassau and Suffolk Libraries Great Give Back program. Our library is collecting new socks to be donated to the Ronald McDonald House. All sock donations must be new and wrapped. Donations can be dropped off in a bin located in the Library’s lobby and will be accepted until October 31st.
Once again, thank you to the wonderful library staff for all that they do for our community. Please check the Library’s YouTube and Facebook pages and its website www.floralparklibrary.org for details on the many activities that the Library has planned.

Building Department – Trustee Chiara
The Building Dept. is working with the owners and tenants of the Covert Avenue properties affected by the unfortunate fire that occurred last Sunday. There will be ongoing inspections and testing occurring over the next few weeks to assess the damage and feasibility of repair and re-opening. A formal plan is dependent on the finalization of the building condition reports and insurance assessments. The goal is to get the businesses up and running as soon as possible. The sidewalk in this location will remain closed until further notice to ensure the safety of the residents.

Special thanks to Renee Marcus and Kevin Bove for not hesitating to respond to this devastating fire on Sunday morning. Their presence, sharing of their knowledge and experience was a great assistance with making decisions on how to best address the scene. They will continue to work with the Floral Park business owners and residents of the area to ensure a safe environment for all. Thank you both!

I would also like to thank all of our Volunteer Fire Dept. and Rescue Company for a tremendous job battling and putting out the fire. Thank You to all of the surrounding communities who supplied mutual aid. You all did a fantastic job! Thank you to our Village Police, DPW, and Dept. of Buildings for all your efforts that day and for all that you do daily for our community.

Recently there have been several accidents involving bicycles and motor vehicles within our Village. As a reminder, both drivers and bicyclists should follow the rules of the road, wear safety equipment, helmets and be alert. Currently there are many more bicyclists on our roads, please be careful.

Congratulations again to Deputy Mayor Kevin Fitzgerald and Trustee Archie Cheng on their recent re-election. I look forward to continue serving with them on the Board of Trustees.

Mayor’s Report – Mayor Longobardi
Mayor Longobardi invited Tim Cuite to open the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance. He asked for a moment of silence to remember those who have passed away or are suffering from complications related to COVID-19, and to remember our first responders.

Mayor Longobardi welcomed and thanked Matt Cacciatore, Commander of the Floral Park American Legion, Post 334, for all of his contributions to the residents of Floral Park and for organizing special events like the Memorial Day Car Parade and the upcoming Veterans’ Day Memorial during this pandemic.

Mayor Longobardi congratulated Deputy Mayor Kevin Fitzgerald and Trustee Archie Cheng on their re-election as Trustees. He commended both Kevin and Archie on their dedicated and selfless service to the Village and residents of Floral Park. He is privileged to serve on the Board of Trustees with them. Mayor Longobardi stated “Floral Park is the best Village in the entire nation and that he is lucky that Floral Park truly is such a “Great Place to Live”.

The Mayor is very saddened to report on the tragic fire on Covert Avenue on September 27th that devastated the Floral Park businesses between Beverly and Marshall Avenues. As Trustee twelve years ago, he was the liaison to the Covert Avenue Chamber of Commerce and helped Capo and Park Place Restaurants to build and open for business. He and the Village Board dedicate themselves to helping not only Capo and Park Place, but all of the businesses that were affected by the fire to recover, rebuild and reopen! These businesses have given so much to the Floral Park community and now it is our turn to give back to them with all of the resources of the Village of Floral Park. Floral Park will be there for them with all of its resources, expertise and good-will to tirelessly assist the recovery of this area of the business district affected by the fire.

Mayor Longobardi thanked Renee Marcus and Kevin Bove of the Floral Park Building Department and Kevin Ginnane, Superintendent of Floral Park Public Works who were live on the scene with staff assisting the first responders to offer their expertise. The Mayor stated he is grateful to Commissioner McAllister and the Floral Park Police Department and to the Village administrative staff for their efforts during and after the fire. Finally, the Mayor recognized the bravery of the Floral Park Fire Department and Rescue Squad, all trained volunteer firefighters and ambulance EMTs, who responded to the call. They voluntarily put themselves in harm’s way throughout the entire day putting out this stubborn and furious fire, and tending to the injured. Thankfully, there were only a few minor injuries because of the training, preparedness and hard work of the first responders. It was a sobering and sad moment for the Floral Park community. The outpouring of neighbors and friends there to lend a helping hand was overwhelming and hasn’t stopped since that fateful Sunday. Special thanks to the many volunteer fire departments and emergency response teams throughout Nassau County who came to assist on the scene and provide mutual aid to the responding firehouses. The Board of Trustees and Village staff are fervently committed to helping the businesses rebuild and will work with the community to be there for all of them, day in and day out going forward. Please keep everyone in your prayers.

Everyone is invited to attend the ‘Salute To Our Heroes’ Mass at Our Lady of Victory on Sunday, October 11 at 10:30 AM to recognize our first responders. Please come out and show your support.

In closing, the Village received some good news. Thanks to the efforts of Village Administrator Gerry Bambrick working with the Governor’s office in Albany, the Mayor is happy to announce that outdoor dining is now extended to November by the Governor’s Executive Order. Please support our local businesses, follow all social distancing rules and please stay safe during these trying times. Thank you.

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