New Partners for Community Preservation, a nonprofit that works with New York State on its efforts to clean up polluted and low income sites, honored five different Brownfield Opportunity Grant recipients this week up in Albany, as Supervisor Sean Walter made the trip to receive a proclamation from Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo.
Riverhead was granted about $600,000 in state funding to study its brownfield area, one that spans from West Main Street near the post office to East Main Street near Hubbard Avenue.
Planners Nelson, Pope and Voorhis are in the process of conducting a study of the area using the state funds, and have already reported back to the Town Board several times with progress on their efforts. The firm has suggested making Peconic Avenue a one-way street to mend traffic woes, lobbying New York State to reclassify several parcels along the Peconic River to improve their uses, and pitched a movie theater and/or grocery store in the downtown area.
This week, Mr. Walter said at a press conference in Albany that the effort to reclassify the lots along the river would help clean up the Peconic, while bringing economic opportunity to the area as well.
“By creating economic opportunities in this corridor, we will be able to bring the sewage treatment line up [West Main Street] and pull all the septic systems basically offline and stop having them pollute the river,” he said.
Mr. Walter also pointed to the effect the downtown traffic study could have on bringing people to the area.
“You can’t revitalize an area that has congestion problems,” he said.
Mr. Palumbo said the grant will help not only Riverhead, but the surrounding area as well.
“It seems as though this is focused on just downtown Riverhead, but actually it’s regional,” he said. “We have a very major concern with respect to nitrogen pollution from water.”
Watch the press conference below: