05/21/12 3:57pm
05/21/2012 3:57 PM

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The new playground at the River and Roots Community Garden in downtown Riverhead.

There may be a new playground at downtown’s River and Roots Community Garden, but the work isn’t done yet. The River and Roots group is now seeking donations to install a fence around the newly-built park.

While the Riverhead Rotary Club has agreed to make a donation for the fence project, River and Roots still needs $1,000 to cover the full cost.

The new playground – the only one in downtown Riverhead — was finished last week and is located next to the garden near Grangebel Park. It includes a slide, seesaw and jungle gym.

The playground cost the town $51,374 to build, according to a contract awarded by the Town Board four months ago. The project is being funded by a Community Development Block Grant, which comes from federal funds, rather than town property taxes.

River and Roots organizer Laurie Nigro wrote in a press release issued Monday that any donation, “large or small, will go far and help us complete the transformation of this little piece of downtown.”

Checks can be made payable to Riverhead Rotary Charities, which is accepting donations on behalf of the garden members, and mailed to River and Roots Community Garden P.O. Box 2129 Riverhead, NY, 11901.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly indicated that the Rotary Club was raising funds for the fence.

05/14/12 11:56am
05/14/2012 11:56 AM

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Construction on the new playground at the River and Roots Community Garden began Monday.

Downtown’s River and Roots Community Garden is getting a new addition this week: a playground for local kids.

Installation on the playground – the only one in downtown Riverhead — began Monday morning and is expected to wrap up in the next two to three days, said contractors at the West Main Street site.

The playground will be located next to the garden near Grangebel Park, and will feature a slide, seesaw and jungle gym.

“It’s not going to look like a regular jungle gym,” said foreman Anthony Barbato of Louis Barbato Landscaping. “Everything will be very modern.”

Contractors said they had to pull up a cherry tree on the site that was “no good” and will lay wood chips down around the park to provide a cushion for kids.

The playground will cost $51,374 to build, according to a contract awarded by the Town Board four months ago. The project is being funded by a Community Development Block Grant, which comes from federal funds, rather than town property taxes.

psquire@timesreview.com

05/13/11 1:02pm
05/13/2011 1:02 PM

Downtown’s new community garden got some help from an unlikely source Friday — the county jail.

More than two dozen raised garden beds, built by inmates in the Suffolk County Jail’s apprentice program, were delivered to the River & Roots community garden on West Main Street.

“The jail’s Vocational Training Program was established as a tool to reduce inmate recidivism in our communities,” according to a press release from the sheriff’s office announcing the event. “These frames will allow families to plant, grow and maintain gardens and flowers along the Peconic River Waterfront in Riverhead.”

The garden is currently under construction on a town-owned plot just south of West Main Street and Griffing Avenue.

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BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Inmates Earrol Whitaker and Jay Topczewski unload one of the 25 4-by-6-foot cedar garden beds they built

04/03/11 11:24am
04/03/2011 11:24 AM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | River and Roots vice president Brian Nigro waters the newly planted seeds with the help of his daughter Rita, 6.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | River and Roots vice president Brian Nigro waters the newly planted seeds with the help of his daughter Rita, 6.

It may feel like winter, but planting for downtown Riverhead’s yet-to-be installed community garden is under way.

The River and Roots garden project founders were joined by participants and their children Saturday in Gabrielsen’s Country Plant Farm greenhouses in Jamesport to start putting some seeds in the ground. Well, at least in little squares of soil.

The group seeded planters for hot peppers, sweet peppers, tomatoes, lettuce. snow peas, pole beans, tarragon, basil, parsley squash, eggplants, carrots, nasturtiums, midget melons and kuri squash during a not very spring-like brisk and windy day.

The community garden was originally pitched as a place for people, especially young mothers like co-founder Amy Davidson, to congregate.

Ms. Davidson,  along with friend and fellow downtown resident Laurie Nigro, has been trying to create the garden for over a year. The pair hit a few snags along the way while trying to find an appropriate site before getting the go-ahead to lease town land on West Main Street north of Grangebel Park.

The group has received $5,000 from the Business Improvement District for fencing and engineering fees and a $10,000 grant from a Cornell program called ‘Healthy places for work, living and play.’

They expect fence materials to arrive for installation in two or three weeks. Inmates participating in the prison apprentice program at the Suffolk County jail have already built 10 raised plant beds for the garden. And Home Depot will be donating $1,600 worth of lumber, the organizers said.

A fundraiser is scheduled for Thursday, May 12 from 7 to 10 p.m. at Martha Clara Vineyards. Tickets are $30.

“It’s getting very exciting” Ms. Nigro said. “I hope we get some warmer spring weather soon.

Ten of the plot’s 30 sections have already bee spoken for but the group is still accepting applications. Instructions are available on the River and Roots Community website, to apply to plant and maintain one of the 4-by-10 plots. The plots are $25 and gardeners must provide their own seeds.

bkoch@timesreview.com

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03/22/11 2:52pm
03/22/2011 2:52 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Laurie Nigro (left) and Amy Davidson are seeking growers to get a plot in the 'River and Roots Community Garden near the intersection of Griffing Avenue and West Main Street.

The group that is organizing a community garden in downtown Riverhead is now accepting applications to maintain plots on the town-owned parcel north of Grangebel Park.

Applications and instructions are available on the River and Roots Community website, to plant and maintain one of the 36 4-by-10 plot on the West Main street property. There anyone in the community can grow fruits, vegetables, herbs or flowers. The plots are $25 and gardeners must provide their own seeds.

The non-profit group is leasing the space from the town.

Co-organizer and downtown resident Amy Davidson said Riverhead and Roots is awaiting a $10,000 grant from Cornell Cooperative Extension to build an aluminum fence around the land. Once that is in place, Ms. Davidson hopes to see shovels in the ground, preferably by early April.

That money is part of a $1.2 million grant from Cornell to promote healthy eating through farmers markets and community gardens.

The applications have already started to trickle in, Ms. Davidson said.

“We’ve had a couple, but I’m hoping for some more,” she said.

The community garden was originally pitched as a place for people, especially young mothers like Ms. Davidson, to congregate.
Ms. Davidson,  along with friend and fellow downtown resident Laurie Nigro, has been trying to create the garden for over a year. The pair hit a few snags along the way while trying to find an appropriate site. She said it is still hard to believe their vision is coming to life.

“I think once we have all the beds in there, it will feel real,” she said.

vchinese@timesreview.com

Correction: A previous version of this story mistakenly stated the plots are free. They are $25.