After 15 years of searching for land and enough cash to build a YMCA recreational facility in Riverhead Town, it appears the Peconic YMCA has found a permanent home in Calverton.
The local nonprofit is partnering with the town, which will convey town land at the Enterprise Park at Calverton for the group to build the facility — should the measure be approved by the Town Board next month.
This is all happening with the backing and direct involvement of the larger YMCA of Long Island organization.
Peconic YMCA volunteers, Long Island YMCA and the donors who have pledged over $6 million toward this project should be applauded, not only for their steadfast drive to build such a place for Riverhead families to enjoy but also for their sensitivity to the needs and concerns of various communities that didn’t want such a facility in their backyards.
In recent years, when neighborhoods and civics rose up against Y proposals — such as at Tuthills Lane in Aquebogue or across from Vineyard Caterers on Main Road — the YMCA backed off, eventually. The Y did so in both instances on its own accord; no one forced the Y to start looking elsewhere. This is a clear sign that, all along, YMCA officials meant what they were saying: that they wanted to be a partner in the community, not an adversary. Somewhat lost in these battles was the fact that a YMCA built in the right location is good for any town and community. It offers health and wellness opportunities for seniors with its pool, and offers young families through child care and summer camp services. It gives young people a safe place to work, meet and socialize.
And that’s what will be coming to Calverton. This is a big win for the town, and well worth the land it’s giving up.
The Riverhead Town Board recognizes this as well. Since all the board members are in agreement, Supervisor Sean Walter said this week that he’d like to approve the measure at the Town Board’s first meeting in August. Here’s hoping that this time, nothing gets in the way.