Shirley Coverdale, president and CEO of the Family Community Life Center, gave a presentation at Tuesday’s Riverhead school board meeting in an effort to gather support for the nonprofit’s project.
The multi-use center, which was conceptualized by Ms. Coverdale and her husband, the Rev. Charles Coverdale of First Baptist Church, would include 125 apartments, an Olympic-size indoor swimming pool, a 25-seat theater and media center, 24-hour adult child day care services and more.
The Coverdales also described the project as an investment for the community.
“We are giving away 12 acres of land to the community for their benefit,” Rev. Coverdale said.
“We’re not asking the town or the taxpayer to pay for this,” Ms. Coverdale added.
The project has been debated in Town Hall for years, though it has not been discussed publicly in over a year.
Close to 30 residents, including former school board member Butch Langhorne, also urged support for the undertaking.
Board member Amelia Lantz said the proposal was a “beautiful, beautiful” one, but asked how many students would enter the district as a result and how the district would pay to educate them if the complex is tax-exempt.
Ms. Coverdale said analyses used in the project predict that no more than 14 students would be added to the district, adding that the number is “overstated,” and said the district would make up the difference in cost through the savings of not having to build the facilities included in the Family Community Life Center. For example, she said the project could provide a home base for school swimming teams, classroom space for universal kindergarten and housing to “stem the outmigration of the district’s grads.”
Ms. Lantz clarified that she was not necessarily opposed to the project. “I have to ask that question,” she said.