The Mini Ventures of NY, based in Middle Village, sang “God Bless America” and the Sacred Heart Twirling Team joined in to help kick off a hopeful start at the newly designed performance space at the Glendale mall.
“I think they’ve been listening to the people,” said Community Board 5 chair Vincent Arcuri. “It has been a little slow in their marketing development, but hopefully it will blossom now.”
Where a tightly woven parking lot once stood is now a newly designed, roughly 10,000-square-foot open-air performance space.
“We’ve been talking about how it’s a good location for a medical facility, so we’re trying to help them with that,” Arcuri said of talks CB5 has had with attracting businesses and tenants for the struggling mall.
In addition to Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe, which are set to open in the near future, Macerich, the new owners who bought the mall for $54 million back in 2011, have previously hinted at reaching out to the public for ways to bring in new business.
“We wanted to work with them, with the Myrtle Avenue Business Development Corporation, to see what businesses they could push toward Myrtle Avenue and be symbiotic until they do that,” Arcuri explained. “They did that with Queens Center Mall, so why wouldn’t they be able to do that here?”
While plans for the Atlas Park’s future were floating around last Tuesday, elected officials gathered to welcome the new green space in hopes of a bright future for Glendale.
“We were here less than two months ago with construction everywhere,” remembered Congresswoman Grace Meng, who was at the announcement of the new space on May 30. “They promised us that it would be open here in July, and part of me didn’t believe them, but true to their word they are open to the community.”
Assemblyman Mike Miller recognized the integral role that Atlas Park plays in the Glendale community, and hoped the new changes will bring new life.
“This has always been the center of our town,” Miller said. “Now with the expansion and the renovation, it looks much bigger and it looks like it will be more community friendly. Instead of being the center of our town it is now going to be the center of our attention because people will be coming here on a weekly basis for all the things they will be celebrating here.”
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley said she too was hopeful the project would be more successful this time around, and is confident that the timing is right.
“Unfortunately, when the park opened under the old management, it opened at the downturn of our economy,” Crowley said. “But here we are today a few years later and the city is in much better shape and families are feeling less of the economic pain that they did years ago.”