The Castle Hill Merchants Association has brought back a long cherished tradition along one of the east Bronx’s busiest shopping strips.
If you look up from the street on Castle Hill Avenue between Starling Avenue and Bruckner Blvd., you’ll see a warm glow that has been missing for the past two years because of financial concerns.
The Association, working with Councilwoman Annabel Palma’s office and Joe Regina and his staff at the Bronx Chamber of Commerce’s Business Development Program, were able to collect enough money from merchants this year to have holiday lights up along the shopping strip.
The Business Development Program surveyed the members of the Association to learn their needs in an effort to enhance their unity and effectiveness, said Regina.
“We got a very positive and receptive reaction from the Castle Hill merchants,” he said, “and one of the things they all expressed interest in was getting holiday lights back.” He added that the Business Development Program was able to help the merchants organize a collection for the lights.
The PDP is funded, in part, by Councilwoman Palma along with Councilman Jimmy Vacca.
Palma said she was pleased to see the merchants’ efforts to beautify the area for the holiday season.
“It is so wonderful that holiday lights have returned to Castle Hill Avenue,” she said. “They bring good cheer to all and further indicate that Castle Hill is a great place to live and work.
“My thanks to the Castle Hill Merchants Association for making this a reality; this project is but one reason why I am thrilled to partner with the Bronx Chamber of Commerce to strengthen their work.”
Merchants Association president Joe Coiro, of Coiro, Wardi, Chinitz & Silverstein at 1206 Castle Hill Avenue, indicated that the assistance from Palma and the Business Development Program helped them bring holiday lights back.
“This year we really made a concerted effort with the assistance of Councilwoman Annabel Palma and Joe Regina and his staff, and we were able to rally all of the merchants, who were really very generous and supportive of this idea,” said Coiro.
“We have a subway station that is closed and it is hurting business all along the Castle Hill corridor. We thought it would be a good way to try to generate some business and encourage people to stay here and shop.”
Coiro said that the people who run businesses in the neighborhood are good people who have, like everyone else, been hit by the financial crunch.
“They really try to helped each other out, keep business in the area, and make things pleasant for the people in the neighborhood.” he said.