Monday Briefing: Construction work downtown; not just photos of what might be

03/21/2011 9:24 AM |

It was nice to see a Newsday story this weekend carrying the headline “Rebuilding Riverhead, 1 building at a time” and touting the positive changes going on in downtown Riverhead. In the story, longtime East End reporter Mitch Freedman quoted The Red Collection consignment shop owner Morgan Mechelsohn and restaurateurs Dee Muma and Patrick McDermott, three people who are investing big bucks in downtown.

The story’s photo contained what prior stories about downtown’s potential resurgence never did — construction work, and not fancy drawings.

I think one Newsday commenter summed it up nicely when he or she wrote, “They would not build a Hyatt hotel downtown if they didn’t know the whole downtown was going to improve. This is great news for the future of eastern Long Island!!!”

Of course, last time I checked Wikipedia.com, Riverhead was still the county seat. And it’s condition is and should be a reflection on the entire county. Being a former Huntington Town resident (Commack), I can say that folks in western Suffolk are rooting for downtown. And have been for a long time.

• I was fortunate enough to have access to a telescope Saturday night to check out the full moon that supposedly looked 14% percent bigger than normal. Maybe it was because it was so high in the sky and I had no point of reference, but it looked the same as it ever does to me. It was a good night for my friend’s expensive telescope, though, which usually sits there in the background like a piece of furniture but for a few minutes got more attention than his insanely cute puggle.

• Riverhead Councilman George Gabrielsen and the town’s recreation advisory committee have come up with probably the most common-sense driven plan I’ve ever covered in my over 10 years of journalism. The idea is simple, paint some lines over a stretch of grass at EPCAL and play soccer and and other sports there. It’s something we have pretty much all done as kids, when we could create a Whiffle ball stadium anywhere, at any time.

If something derails this plan, I will officially lose any faith I had left in our government.

• Speaking about government ineptitude, the Suffolk County Off-Track Betting has filed for bankruptcy. Oh, no! If the OTB dissolves, how will all our defeated politicians and party hacks earn a living? I would suggest the gambling operation’s board of directors be held personally responsible for potentially ruining my grandfather’s life. (Better parlors are still open, for now.)

• Nothing says spring less than a week of 40-degree days, which is what we’re looking from now until Friday. At least we didn’t get snow last night.

11 Comment

  • Sorry, Mike, the citizens of Riverhead are not well served by giving away millions in tax breaks to the Friends and Family Network to create a Catering Hall with $6 an hour bus boy jobs or “bistros” most people can’t afford.

    Riverhead had the highest tax increase on all of Long Island and years of fiscal mismanagement revealed by the latest audits spells more pain for taxpayers.

    What the Town needs is LEADERSHIP and real jobs–not moonlighting politicians trying to find something to add in their “I wanna be re-elected” script.

  • sorry Ron the positive changes have taken root and so i say, lead, follow, or get out of the way,
    and whats wrong with $6an hour bus boys? and honest dime labored is an honest dime earned
    there are many young people that learned good work ethic, respect and discipline and went on
    to become successfull attorneys and even politicians

  • sorry Ron the positive changes have taken root and so i say, lead, follow, or get out of the way,
    and whats wrong with $6an hour bus boys? and honest dime labored is an honest dime earned
    there are many young people that learned good work ethic, respect and discipline and went on
    to become successfull attorneys and even politicians

  • Ron, Thank you for bluntly telling it like it really is. “tax breaks to the Friends and Family” and “fiscal mismanagement”. Politics is a dirty,dirty business. You see, they to sell their soul to the Devil and after that, they can’t look anybody in the eyes, but some still can and they become an actor or actress. ie; A phony person. They still try and charm everybody even when their going down big time. This comes from a person who has 40yrs in behind the scenes Riverhead politics.
    The solution? You tell me.

  • sorry carl the positive changes have taken root and so i say to you as well, lead, follow, or get out of the way. main st. will rebuild, one brick at a time and one business person at a time.
    you should be ashamed of your self carl or ron, you should be happy that small businesses in your community are getting help from grant projects and not some big corporate that imploys
    in china and spends his profits in south beach or palm beach. do some research ron and see
    the percentage of revenue that small business applies to its local community, youll be shocked.
    and the catering hall you refer to is actually a hotel in the making which from opening day
    in july till 2012 is fully booked, and as far as the bistros , again youll be shocked the amount of their own money they put in to their projects.

  • ” leadership and real jobs” …sounds like campaign blather..can you be a little more specific?

  • Riverhead needs “Real” jobs, not retail clerks and bus boys! A $6.00 an hour job will not support the Riverhead Town Tax Base. Riverhead realy needs Industry, not retail and restuarants. These jobs don not pay the bills.

  • What’s wrong with $6 an hour bus boy jobs?! You can’t pay your $10,000 a year property taxes with one!

  • “notorious”, you trying to charm us here? For the last 30yrs I haven’t seen my property taxes go down. I saw no grants or waiver applied to my taxes. I did see my town crumple and now I see my taxes going up again. Wake up from that dream you’re having. Face the facts and realize that this town will only change when the people organize and protest, which ain’t gonna happen anytime soon. Old money still rules here. Your right on one account. I am ashamed that I call myself a Riverheader to everyone’s laugher. If I hadn’t been beaten down by the town’s governmental mismanagement and property tax increases, I would have been able to afford a place somewhere else where people are honest. The truth shall set you free.

  • I used to live in Southbridge, MA, when Recyclebank came. And a year later it was scrapped because it didn’t work– everyone hated it, the coupons were bogus, the trash tons we sent to the landfill did not go down (which is really what any town wants to see happen). See for yourself– google “southbridge recycling effort a bust.” Anyone who has spent any amount of time looking at this issue knows that pay-as-you-throw is the only logical and fair solution to get our waste tonnage down, and our recycling numbers up. PAYT is in more than 7,000 U.S. cities — what do they know that we haven’t figured out yet?

  • $1.50 off any two Ziplock brand containers! Are you kidding me? That’s definitely worth the $250,000 we’re paying RecycleBank!