Riverhead seeks contractor to take over animal shelter

Four new softball fields go unused in Calverton.

The first step in privatizing Riverhead Town’s animal shelter was officially taken Tuesday, when the Town Board issued a request for proposals to operate its animal shelter and adoption center.

The board agreed to require the chosen contractor to keep the shelter open at least 36 hours a week and have staff available seven days a week.

The shelter would be responsible for the animals brought in by the town’s animal control officers, who would remain the town’s employees.

The shelter operator also would be responsible for trying to find homes for the animals. Animals kept at the shelter for more than seven days after their owners have been notified could be adopted or euthanized, according to the board’s RFP. It also specifies that both dogs and cats would be cared for at the shelter. The town currently only handles dogs.

Good news on EPCAL ball fields

The state Department of Transportation has given the town verbal permission to repaint the traffic stripe on Route 25 to accommodate the entrance to the town’s new ball fields at Calverton Enterprise Park, and the county Health Department appears to be ready to allow the town to use temporary bathrooms there, according to Councilwoman Jodi Giglio.

Had the county required the town to hook up the bathrooms to its sewer system, the cost would have been about $1.3 million, she said. The temporary bathrooms should cost only about $50,000 to $70,000, she said.

Ms. Giglio is hoping the town can open the fields by the end of May for use by the Little League while putting other parts of their plans for Calverton park off until the future.

It’s still not clear as to whether or not that’s possible, considering the town’s going budget problems, involving a growing deficit.

Upping the value in land swap

The Town Board may change the zoning of the Route 58 land it hopes to swap with the Riverhead Fire District to commercial before it gives the land to the fire district, Supervisor Sean Walter said last week during a meeting with fire district officials. Doing so would increase the appraised value of the town land, which currently is zoned for institutional uses, and was appraised at just $160,000, said Councilwoman Jodi Giglio. The zoning change would make its value more comparable to the Second Street firehouse property, which the town seks to acquire in the land swap and use as a headquarters for the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps. The fire district wants the Route 58 land for its annual motorized drill and for training.

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