By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Paying tribute to its past, Community Board 10 has voted unanimously to name a Bay Ridge street corner in memory of its original chairman, Charles Ahl.
Ahl, who died 23 years ago, was the board’s first chairman, having been appointed in 1977 when the current community board system was designated in the City Charter. Ahl served in various capacities on the board until 1986.
The board voted at its Sept. 24 meeting to recommend that the city rename the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 80th Street after him. Ahl lived with his family in a house on 80th Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues.
The renaming is pending City Council approval. If the council approves the proposal, a new street sign will be placed at the corner in the spring.
Brian Kieran, chairman of the Traffic and Transportation Committee, said that under the board’s rules on the qualifications for a street renaming, “Mr. Ahl certainly qualifies.” The regulations stipulate that an individual must have made significant contributions to the community.
Ahl’s son Gregory Ahl, who is a current board member, said his late father was largely responsible for establishing the template by which the group functions, including procedures and committee responsibilities. “He designed the way the board worked. It still works the same today,” Ahl said. “This board was very important to him.”
Charles Ahl, a World War II veteran who owned a liquor store on Fifth Avenue and 69th Street, was also active in many other areas of community life, according to his son. He served as president of the Dyker Heights Civic Association and was president of the Edmund Seergy Republican Club. “He touched about everything in this community,” the younger Ahl said.
Ahl was a scoutmaster at Saint Ephrem Catholic Church for 35 years. He spearheaded numerous cleanup projects at Owl’s Head Park. And he was a member of The Entertainers, a group of local civic leaders who put on musical shows to raise money for local charities and institutions, including the Bay Ridge Ambulance Volunteer Organization. “We grew up with a grand piano in the house,” Gregory Ahl said, adding that he has many fond memories of parties his parents hosted where everyone would gather around the piano and sing.