WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- East Post Road Road store owners like Silverio Mazzella, say they're hopeful that their businesses will get a boost when White Plains opens an 18-spot parking lot where the former Bengal Tiger restaurant once stood.
"A hole in the ground doesn't contribute anything. At least a parking lot will have 18 bodies coming in and out," said Mazzella, an Eastchester resident who has run the White Plains Piano Company at 39 E. Post Rd. for 27 years.
After a fire consumed the Bengal Tiger in July, 2010, an enormous hole near the northern intersection of E. Post Road and Court Street has decreased Mazzella's visibility. He says the recession forced several local specialty restaurants to close, which decreased Post Road traffic enough that the Piano Company sells one or two fewer pianos a year.
"I would prefer that they take over the [abandoned] building there and make it one big parking lot because that building does nothing but block views," Mazzella said of the abandoned building behind the parking lot construction. "I liked it better when people were coming in and out of restaurants because those were the kinds of people buying grand pianos. But with the recession, people started cutting back on that kind of thing."
White Plains aims to finish constructing the at-grade, open parking lot by the end of October. Bicycle racks will also be included in the 18-spot lot, according to Karen Pasquale, the senior advisor to the mayor.
Eighteen extra spots will help local businesses better accommodate customers, according to Danny Bermudez, a waiter at Tango Grill.
"On a scale of one to ten, I'd give [opening the lot] an eight. It's definitely going to help not only this business, but a lot of businesses in this area," said Bermudez, 24, a White Plains resident who has been working at Tango for over three years. "People don't like to park far."
Other owners, including Greg Wilson, 55, a former White Plains resident, say the parking lot may not be the best use for the land.
"There's amble parking here, of course it's not going to help," said Wilson, 55, a Peekskill resident who has run his Hair & Skin Care Boutique at 143 E. Post Road for 17 years. "The only time more parking is really needed is when the bars kick in [at night].
Wilson said he believes White Plains will eventually use imminent domain to take over the abandoned building, which he thinks should be used as a community center with vocational training for local youth.
"Right now there is nothing of serious quality that deals with wellness. We could use some sort of a community center where young folks can get vocational training that helps them develop unique skills," said Wilson.
What do you think of a new parking lot at the intersection of E. Post Road and Court Street? Will it be helpful? Is parking an issue in White Plains? Email thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll include your responses in future coverage.
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