The Village of Mineola Board of Trustees is working with the Chamber of Commerce to hold weekly car shows on Thursday nights starting in July in an effort to draw new residents to the downtown area.
Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss briefly announced the initiative at the outset of the June 8 village board meeting. After the meeting, Strauss said he recently had conversations with Tony Lubrano, Mineola Chamber of Commerce president, who proposed the idea.
“We’re on board. We want this thing to happen,” Strauss said. “The point is to bring people into the area.”
New residents would be able to check out downtown eateries and businesses Strauss said. He said the first car show may be held on July 7, with shows continuing each Thursday until Labor Day, pending county approval on closing three streets downtown. The show would be held on Main Street between 1st and 2nd streets—all county roads—possibly continuing north on Main Street to the railroad tracks.
Strauss said without a park in the downtown area, the village is limited to holding street events to draw new residents in the apartment buildings that have been erected over the past year.
“I’m willing to try anything. I want to get people down there,” Strauss said.
Lubrano, who owns Piccola Bussola, said it’s an event intended to draw new residents downtown and create another village family event. He said businesses not located in downtown Mineola could set up tables to tout their businesses and perhaps offer coupons to those who attend the car shows.
“It’s like a street fair,” Lubrano said. “The car show is a grand scale idea that would be simple to set up.”
He credited Mineola resident and car enthusiast Bennie Volino with originating the idea. He said Volino told him about how weekly car shows in the Town of Oyster Bay draw big crowds and that Volino belongs to two car clubs that would be interested in participating.
Initially, Lubrano said, classic car owners would register for free for the event, but added plans include eventually charging $5 per car, as Oyster Bay does for its Tuesday night car shows.
“As a village that is interested in reviving its downtown, this is an opportunity for new residents to see what Mineola has to offer,” Lubrano said.
At the meeting, the village board also suspended a hearing for a special use application on a proposed martial arts school at 331 Willis Ave. because the owners were not present.
During the hearing, Jared Mandel, the architect on the project, said plans called for building a 500-square-foot addition, for a total of 2,533 square feet, to the second floor of the building to accommodate what he described as a “karate” studio. He said classes would be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays.
Board members raised questions about parking for the studio.
In a phone interview, local dentist Eugene Simons, a partner in the proposed business, said the location was chosen because he owns the building and his dental practice is on the first floor. He said his partner, a man he identified as Grandmaster Yum, would be teaching a Korean martial art, Hwa Rang Do—similar to Tae Kwan Do—at the school.