Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 02 December 2011 00:00
Parking in and around Mineola has been the topic for much debate, especially around the holiday season. However, residents living near Chaminade High School will be getting some relief from sports fans parking along local streets.
Following a recent meeting between Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss, Superintendent Dr. Michael Nagler and Chaminade President Brother Tom Cleary, those attending Chaminade events will be able to use the parking lots at the Jackson Avenue and Mineola Middle School for weekend events.
“They have quite a few cars that come into the neighborhood,” Dr. Nagler said at a recent board of education meeting. “There’s really no facility for them to park and the mayor asked us if we would be willing to let them use our parking lots. It’s up to the board whether or not we want to charge them, but it’s certainly within our prerogative to charge them.”
The change is geared more toward football events in the fall than during the spring sports season and the district would obtain a schedule of events Chaminade would want to use the lots ahead of time.
“We could probably coordinate so our events don’t conflict with theirs,” Trustee John McGrath said.
“We don’t really use those parking lots that much on the weekends,” Dr. Nagler said. “The mayor was fairly adamant about wanting to help the residents and wanting to ease the burden of parking particularly on Emory Road.”
The village has been lawfully enforcing ticketing on parked cars, “but apparently the (Chaminade) parents don’t care,” Dr. Nagler said. “They’re paying the ticket but it doesn’t help the resident who can’t get out of their driveway because the car’s not moving and evidently the last few weekends it’s been bad.”
A lot owned by Chaminade to the north of Jericho Turnpike has about 60 spaces, but certain sporting events could generate 1,000 people, according to Nagler. Approximately 50 cars can fit in the Jackson Avenue School lot with an additional 70 across both lots at the middle school.
“How much can you really charge for a parking lot?” McGrath asked, suggesting either letting the lot be used free as a neighborly gesture or charging Chaminade “whatever it costs us to clean up” after events. Dr. Nagler said that the cost of cleanup could be included as part of the agreement.
Nagler said the district could hire an outside firm to collect money on event dates.
“That doesn’t solve the problem because anybody who doesn’t want to pay the money to go park in the lot is going to go out and park on the street for free,” McGrath said, who suggested letting Chaminade use the lot immediately and resolve the cost issue at a later date. “We can tell them right now you can use it for nothing but the board’s considering charging a fee, either to individuals using it or to Chaminade directly.”
The possibility of fire pits/ barbecues alarmed board vice-president William Hornberger, who said, “I now have truly a concern as it relates to some sort of tailgating event.”
Dr. Nagler responded by saying that “it is not our responsibility to police what’s going on,” once a lease has been drawn up. “We’re not going there on a Saturday, Chaminade has to enforce it.”
The board decided to allow Chaminade to use the lots “on a temporary basis” with specific dates until a lease with fees and prohibition on tailgating could be drawn up.
“We’re trying to help the village with the immediate problem and we’re looking towards compensation for the use of our property,” Dr. Nagler said.