As part of the recent efforts to revitalize the Riverside area, Southampton Town sent out a request for proposals last week for engineering and planning companies to design a proposed pedestrian bridge over the Peconic River.
The idea for a footbridge was actually suggested last year by Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk), whose district includes Riverside and the rest of the South Fork. The town received more than $88,000 in state grant money last December to design the bridge, which, as envisioned, will connect a 14-acre county park in Riverside to downtown Riverhead’s riverfront parking lot.
The deadline for submissions on the project is May 7.
Once the town selects a company to design the bridge, that company will file designs in anticipation of seeking additional state grants in the fall to pay for its construction.
Suffolk County engineers have estimated that a small walking bridge over the Peconic will cost about $1 million, said Vince Taldone, the president of the Flanders, Riverside & Northampton Community Association.
FRNCA leaders have played an integral role in jumpstarting redevelopment efforts in the area.
On Wednesday, Southampton Town and the Renaissance Downtowns development firm entered into a contract through which the Renaissance group will serve as a master developer of the area.
In an interview Monday, Mr. Taldone said that, with the contract signed, revitalization efforts will really start picking up speed.
“These people don’t make any money unless they perform,” Mr. Taldone said of the group. “There’s really no incentive whatsoever for them to delay. I’m really so excited. The moment the contract is signed, I think this is going to take off with lightning speed.”