Downtown biz owners still shooting for a skating rink

02/20/2014 3:08 PM |
A 2008 rendering of the proposed skating rink and pavillion planned for downtown Riverhead, from architect Martin Sendlewski

A 2008 rendering of the proposed skating rink and pavillion planned for downtown Riverhead, from architect Martin Sendlewski

The Riverhead Business Improvement District’s management association is still going to pursue grants to try and build an ice skating rink and pavilion in downtown Riverhead, BIDMA members said last night.

The BID and the Riverhead Town Board have been discussing the possibility of bringing an ice skating rink to downtown Riverhead since 2011, but the idea lost steam in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in October of 2012 — a storm that left about five feet of water in the Peconic Riverfront parking lot in downtown Riverhead and flooded many businesses there.

The BIDMA, working with Councilman George Gabrielsen, had proposed a synthetic rink, which could be used in non-freezing temperatures, and proposed enclosing it in a pavilion that could also be used for concerts and other events.

The estimated cost was expected to be more than $200,000, but BIDMA president Ray Pickersgill said grants were available to cover much of that cost.

A $100,000 grant through Suffolk County — which the town was awarded years ago — could still be used, though the town only has one year left to use it, or lose it, he said. To drive down the cost even further, Mr. Pickersgill added that corporate sponsorships will likely be sought. Though the town board approved the BID’s $96,000 budget last night, he said some funds would be available to help pay for the rink, though wasn’t exactly sure how much.

The subject came up again at Wednesday’s BIDMA meeting, where Mr. Pickersgill asks the other BIDMA members if they wanted to continue to pursue grants for the rink and pavilion.

“We’ve got to make a decision,” he said.

BIDMA vice president Bill Allan said he felt they should only try to build a skating rink, without the pavilion.

Mr. Pickersgill said the pavilion could also be used as the future home of the BID’s new farmer’s market, which is currently held indoors in a rented building.

tgannon@timesreview.com