Town Hall Notes

Bob Conklin’s widow, Joyce, listens with the rest of the Town Board Tuesday as Councilman Jim Wooten reads a proclamation honoring her husband.

Retired marine biology teacher Bob Conklin of Flanders spent years trying to build a fish passage to help alewives migrate through Grangebel Park to make it upriver to spawn.

Mr. Conklin died in December, just months before construction on the passage was completed, but his memory will forever be linked to the project. The Town Board on Tuesday authorized the dedication of the fish passage at Grangebel Park to Robert B. Conklin.

“He never had the opportunity to see all the fruits of his labor,” Councilman Jim Wooten said.

Mr. Conklin was a Riverhead science teacher for nearly 40 years and would take his students to Grangebel Park to form a bucket brigade to help the alewives get upstream, Mr. Wooten said. He also installed many temporary fish ladders in past years prior to the installation of the permanent one that is there now.

The Town Board on Tuesday gave a proclamation honoring Mr. Conklin to his widow, Joyce, and his children, Bob Jr. and Beth Dirksen.

“Thank you,” Ms. Conklin said. “I know he’d be very pleased.”

Will state, county ease ballpark mandates?

It’s still uncertain if the new ball fields at Calverton Enterprise Park will be ready for use this summer, but town officials say they believe the state Department of Transportation and the county Health Department may ease up on some of their respective requirements to enable the town to get the fields open sooner.

Assistant town engineer Christine Fetten has spoken with the DOT about easing the requirements regarding the curb cut onto Route 25, a state road, and the town also has received verbal approval from the county to allow a temporary sanitary system at the park, which will eventually be linked to the town’s sewer system, town officials said. The cost of these projects would amount to more than $1.3 million, but the proposed changes could drop that price to about $30,000, said Councilwoman Jodi Giglio.

The town could also consider having the entrance to the park run from Line Road, off Grumman Boulevard, which is a town road. Line Road cuts across the 10,000-foot runway that leads to the old Grumman picnic grounds, which is adjacent to the ball fields, said Councilman George Gabrielsen.

Town supports East End transit vote

The formation of a Peconic Bay Regional Transportation Authority, which would replace the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on the East End, became a hot topic when the MTA proposed to eliminate almost all train service on the North Fork earlier this year.

And though the MTA scrapped its plan to cut services here, the idea of regional authority is still being pursued.

A bill in the state Legislature proposes to allow a non-binding advisory referendum on whether to establish a regional transportation authority on the East End. The referendum would be on the November ballot in each of the five East End towns and Brookhaven Town. State Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) and Assemblyman Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor) have sponsored bills to that effect in each of the two houses of the state Legislature.

On Tuesday, the Riverhead Town Board approved a resolution supporting those bills.

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