Chamber co-President Strautman welcomed two new members: Port Chemists and new owner Zoraya Pod, located at 4 Manorhaven Blvd. and Servpro of Great Neck/Port Washington and vice president Ali Wallace, a fire and water damage restoration company in Roslyn Heights. Strautman also welcomed Chris Peccia of Fitness Together, who became a member the morning of the meeting.
Chamber co-president Warren Schein said the Town of North Hempstead acquired several properties from Nassau County. One of the properties is Hempstead Harbor Park. The town will be doing extensive renovations and has closed the entrance. However, it is accessible from the promenade at Bar Beach. The town plans to reopen Hempstead Harbor Park next summer when some of the renovations should be completed. Eventually, there will be a huge playground, a renovated amphitheater, larger playing fields and more. Once it reopens, it will be available to all Nassau County residents.
Polay said the merchants on mid-Main Street met to discuss ways to promote their area and one suggestion was a mural. Coincidentally, a local artist, Alice Jen, who has a business in the same area, called the chamber for help in applying for a grant to do a Port Washington mural. They all got together and decided to do a mural of Port Washington as seen from the water looking toward the land, with several landmarks visible on the land. Debbie Greco said her husband would take photos of Port Washington from his boat. Alice Melzer, who is also an artist, offered to lend assistance to the project. Marilyn Howland offered the side of her building at Main Street and Madison Street. Jerry Rudnick agreed to have the Kiwanis Club be the nonprofit organization to sponsor the project. The chamber helped write the grant application, which has been submitted.
Florence Leniston asked if there would only be one location for the mural. Melzer said the chamber hopes this is the first of several public art projects throughout the town.
Alice Melzer of the Port Washington Federal Credit Union said she wished to thank all those present who have worked on community projects with her. She said that for the presentation she is thinking about money. Money is a machine that we use. The Port Washington Federal Credit Union offers guidance in using your money and offers a place to keep it safe. The main difference between banks and credit unions is that banks are corporations and profits go back to the corporation. Credit unions are nonprofit entities and profits go back to the customers in terms of goods and services. They may offer different products than banks and offer loans as low as $500. The credit union is dedicated to community service and involved in supporting the arts and other nonprofit organizations. They recently installed a coin machine for their customers and the community. They offer scholarships for high school graduates. In 2008, the Port Washington Federal Credit Union will celebrate its 40th anniversary of serving Port Washington, Great Neck, Manhasset and Roslyn. It serves anyone who lives, works or worships in these communities.
Polay reported that the chamber has been asking for ideas for new projects. One suggestion that they are pursuing is the idea of a Restaurant Week. Recently, Brenda Garfield called the office to report on a story she read in a magazine about a fundraising event in Needham, MA, called "Souper Bowl." The local restaurants contribute kettles of soup. Residents "purchase" a spoon, which allows them to taste all the soups. They then get to rate each one and a winner is chosen. Melzer said she attended a Chili-fest, which was very successful. Catherine O'Neill suggested that such an event should be held in one location, rather than requiring people to travel from one place to another. Charles Crystal said some restaurants may not have soup and maybe we should ask them to contribute their "best dish." Rudnick commented that the restaurants contribute dishes to the Pride In Port dinner dance. Margaret Minichini suggested that this be part of a larger event. Schein said it is worth further consideration. Polay said right now the chamber needs to form a committee to plan the Souper Bowl event. The following people volunteered: Brenda Garfield, Debbie Greco, Tony Guzzello, Ayhan Hassan, Alice Melzer and Catherine O'Neill.
Leniston asked if there were any plans to build a skateboard park in Port Washington. Schein said the town's liability would be too great. Leniston said she sees children skateboarding past her store every day and it is very dangerous. Who is liable if these children get hurt? Sid Segall said there has to be negligence for there to be liability. Schein said the Port police should be asked to patrol that area when the kids are skateboarding there. PWPD Officer Tony Guzzello said a group of parents in Port Washington are trying to have a proper skateboarding facility in town. However, if there is a specific problem at a specific time, the police should be called. Schein pointed out that skateboard parks need to be reconfigured every few months or the kids get bored and stop going.
Chamber Executive Director Bobbie Polay said she wanted to thank those members who marched with the chamber in the Pride In Port Parade: Diane Aurelio, Nesli and Sunay Ciner and their children, Ayhan Hassan, Bob Howard, Leslie Jacobi and John, Hal Linden, Alice Melzer, Brian Mohr, Charlie Schnier and Mitch Schwartz.
Segall said there is an Aston Martin business office and small showroom on Channel Drive, which most people do not know about.
Phyllis Joseph thanked the Port Washington Police District and especially Officer Tony Guzzello for the wonderful job they did when the Bacon Brothers performed at Landmark.
Leniston said there is a serious pigeon problem on lower Main Street. Schein suggested she report the problem to the town by calling 311.