YMCA: We won’t need public money

Peconic YMCA now says it can build a YMCA recreational facility near Stotzky Park without costing Riverhead Town taxpayers anything.

Peconic YMCA is seeking to build a facility with an Olympic-size indoor swimming pool, locker rooms, a strength training center, pre-kindergarten classroom space, a community center and offices.

The group also would fix the soccer fields and parking areas at town-owned Stotzky Park, according to Fritz Trinklein, director of strategic planning for YMCA of Long Island.

“We are not requiring any cash contributions from the town,” he said. But construction of a second phase, he said, including indoor basketball courts, would require town funding.

Mr. Trinklein said the group now believes it can raise the entire $8 million to $9 million needed for the first phase of the YMCA through private donations.

“Once we get a completed land lease inked, the rest of the private commitments should come through,” he said. He is hoping to get informal Town Board support for a lease at Thursday’s work session, at which Peconic YMCA is scheduled to discuss its plans.

Peconic YMCA, a nonprofit group that has been trying to locate a YMCA in the Riverhead area for more than 10 years, has in the past asked the town to contribute $2 million toward the project, using money the town hopes to get if it completes the sale of land in Calverton to Riverhead Resorts.

That request is no longer being made. “The town has no money,” Mr. Trinklein said.

The land on which the YMCA wants to buildwas acquired by Suffolk County in 2003 with a condition that Riverhead Town improve it with park facilities. Construction of the Peconic YMCA would enable the town to meet that condition, Mr. Trinklein said.

In the past, the project has been linked with other development projects that were unpopular with neighbors and never were built.

It had been planned in conjunction with private developments on Riverside Drive in Riverside and Manor Road in Calverton as well as with a Riverhead School District project on Tuthills Lane in Aquebogue, all of which met with opposition.

So far, the current Pulaski Street location has not generated any opposition.

The first phase would not accommodate basketball or volleyball courts or other sports sought by town officials. Mr. Trinklein said that when the town does get money, those facilities could be constructed as part of the second phase that would require town financing. Peconic YMCA is proposing to include those uses in a modular addition, he said.

Mr. Trinklein said Town Board members have all been cooperative, as has E.W. Howell, the company that widened Route 58 and has donated fill from that project to raise and level the parking lot at the proposed YMCA site. The Riverhead Fire Department, which hopes to acquire adjacent land from the town for its training and drill grounds, also was helpful in setting up an arrangement that led to the approval of a curb cut onto Route 58 and the elimination of a swale by the old Armory building, Mr. Trinklein said.

He is hoping the YMCA facility will be “largely complete” by the end of 2011, he said.

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