Riverhead Town unveils new playground at Iron Pier Beach

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Riverhead Town Councilman George Gabrielsen, center, surrounded by children at a ribbon cutting ceremony at Iron Pier Beach in Northville Monday.

Nearly five months after a group of young Riverhead Town residents complained of conditions at Iron Pier Beach in Northville, town officials unveiled a brand new playground there Monday.

The playground equipment was paid for through developer’s fees paid to the town and not through taxpayer money, Town Board members stressed. The town authorized recreation department superintendent Ray Coyne to spend $56,000 to purchase the equipment in June, though Town Supervisor Sean Walter said the project only cost about $35,000.

The old playground was deemed unsafe and removed in 2010.

“It was in terrible condition,” Mr. Walter said of the old equipment. “It was dangerous.”

The installation process only took about two weeks, Mr. Walter said, though the project was stalled while the town secured permits from the State Department of Environmental Conservation. Most of the work is complete, though the playground is still awaiting the installation of a rubber surface on the ground.

At a June Town Board meeting, a group of young girls, including Grace Kaelin, 9, and Savannah McDonald, 7, pictured above, approached the board to implore them to find the money to purchase the new playground equipment. They complained that a new playground was installed at the South Jamesport Beach and not at the Northville beach.

“If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have done this,” said Town Board member George Gabrielsen, a Jamesport resident and the liaison to the town’s Recreation Advisory Committee.

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