The Riverhead Town Board has agreed to spend $50,000 to repair the skate park at Stotzky Memorial Park in hopes of having it ready by the summer.
Out of safety concerns, the skate park has been closed for more than a year. A sign at the park says it is closed “indefinitely for repairs.”
The allocated funds for the repair project is coming from the park and recreation fees charged to developers building subdivisions.
The town has about $138,000 in park fees on hand, and at Thursday’s Town Board work session, officials debated how best to spend them.
The skate park is one of several town recreation facilities that officials say has been falling into disrepair due to lack of maintenance.
The town also has about $1.1 million left in a bond authorization from 10 years ago that hasn’t been spent, and which expires on April 17, according to Park and Recreation Superintendent Ray Coyne.
But a majority of Town Board members opposed bonding because the town’s credit rating has already been lowered within the past year and additional bonding would lower it further.
Supervisor Sean Walter said he thinks the town should have at least two years of balanced budgets before it seeks to borrow money again.
“I want the skate park open by the summer time,” Councilman John Dunleavy said. “It’s been closed all winter long now. We should start getting it done.”
Mr. Walter agreed.
Mr. Coyne said he would make that his top priority. But he said the estimate to repair the skate park is between $50,000 and $60,000.
The Town Board initially had agreed to allocate another $80,000 of the recreation funds to go to the construction of a new playground at the Veterans Park at Enterprise Park at Calverton.
Mr. Coyne said that item was the top priority of the town’s recreation advisory committee.
But Councilman Tim Hubbard questioned why the town would build a new park when it hasn’t completed projects at existing parks, such as installing lights at the ballfields at Veterans Park.
The other board members agreed, and decided instead to allocate the $80,000 toward various repairs at existing parks and recreational facilities, and asked Mr. Coyne to come up with a list of projects on which they funding could be used.
The other $8,000 is being allocated toward the EPCAL bike and recreation trail.
“It’s a very popular project,” Mr. Coyne said of the recreation trail.
The town is hoping to complete the trail, which currently is paved from the dog park to an area just south of the Calverton Industries sand mine, so that it goes all the way around the north and south boundaries of EPCAL and comes back north near the western runway.
The town already has received $200,000 from Suffolk County for that project and has applied for a $40,000 matching grant, according to Councilwoman Jodi Giglio. She said the town also has asked for a $100,000 state grant for the project, which would be enough to complete it.
Officials decided to pave as much of the trail as possible with the $8,000.
Photo Caption: The empty skate park at Stotzky Memorial Park. (Credit: Tim Gannon)