Letter: Can’t disparage downtown Riverhead

09/26/2013 6:00 AM |
Suffolk theater opening

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | East Main Street looking west near the theater.

To the editor:

I take exception to the “downtown Riverhead” references as expressed by Mike Roth of the Wading River Chamber of Commerce in last week’s feature article about Wading River’s ailing business district. Mr. Roth’s references that after years of decline, Wading River is “all of a sudden downtown Riverhead” and that the “worst case scenario is status quo, nothing moves on and it becomes another downtown Riverhead” are way off base.

These negative connotations may have applied to Riverhead’s downtown a few short years ago, however they do not apply at all today. Our downtown is now an example of successful downtown revitalization with over 15 new businesses opened up or planning to open soon. I have been here all of my life and have seen many attempts to turn our downtown around that did not take hold, however it is unmistakable that this time, downtown Riverhead’s revitalization is for real.

It is becoming a more vibrant and safe place to live, work and play as a result of the efforts of Supervisor Sean Walter, the Town Board, the Business Improvement District, Industrial Development Agency, the town’s community development office and the residents and businesses here. I have strolled through downtown many evenings to see people fishing and eating dinner along the riverfront and enjoying Grangebel Park, once a drug haven, now a wonderful park where people say hello to each other as they walk by.

Downtown Riverhead is back, it is safe and it is becoming a successful destination that no longer deserves or is representative of its past negative perceptions similar to those expressed by Mr. Roth.

Martin Sendlewsi, Riverhead

Editor’s note: Mr. Sendlewski is a partner in the Summerwind Square complex and sits on the downtown Business Improvement District board of directors.