Riverhead’s Grangebel Park now open to the public

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Christmas wreaths adorn the light poles of the now open Grangebel Park.

The fence that has surrounded downtown Riverhead’s recently renovated Grangebel Park has been removed.

The park’s long-awaited reopening is final.

The scenic park, which town engineer Ken Testa recently referred to as the “crown jewel” of Riverhead, includes walking and biking trails, a performance stage and a fish passage for the annual migration of alewives. It was closed about a year for construction.

“I’m just so happy it’s finished. It’s beautiful,” said Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter.”I think honestly my favorite part is the fish passage.”

Riverhead’s community development director, Christine Kempner, said a grand opening ceremony will likely be scheduled for after New Year’s Day.

The site improvements cost about $1.37 million and the fish passage construction cost about $750,000, town official said.

The park, the entrance of which runs along Peconic Avenue, which connects Riverhead to Southampton Town, will be maintained by Riverhead’s buildings and grounds department and the town’s recreation department will oversee concerts and performances on the stage.

Parking will be available east of Peconic Avenue along the north side of the Peconic River, Mr. Testa said. The town is planning to construct a crosswalk on Peconic Avenue ­— as mandated by Suffolk County because it is a county road — to make access to Grangebel Park safe for pedestrians and bicyclists.

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