Vote on downtown skating rink delayed

The Riverhead Town Board stopped short of authorizing Supervisor Sean Walter to sign a contract to accept a $100,000 grant to pay for part of the cost of installing a synthetic ice skating rink in downtown Thursday, as board members wanted to discuss it further after raising concerns about the cost, although the numbers they discussed were apparently wrong.

The rink, which is proposed to be located next to the comfort station behind the former West Marine building on East Main Street, is expected to cost $225,000, according to Councilman George Gabrielsen.

The town is eligible for a county downtown revitalization fund grant that would cover $100,000 of the cost.
Mr. Gabrielsen said the other $125,000 would be paid by the downtown Business Improvement District, which is pushing the project.

But BID president Ray Pickersgill, who wasn’t present for the discussion, said in an interview Friday that those numbers are wrong.

“We’ve reduced the size of the rink and we’ve got the additional cost down to about $80,000,” he said. The BID will be able to cover that cost throughout its budget next year, and by reducing its spending on other items, he said.

The BID budget this year is about $118,000.

The Town Board had planned to vote on a resolution at Tuesday’s regular board meeting to authorize the supervisor to sign the contract with Suffolk County to accept the grant money.

The resolution, which also says the town will contribute services from its engineering, community development and buildings and grounds departments, was discussed at the board’s work session Thursday. Board members ultimately decided to discuss it further at next Thursday’s work session, when Mr. Pickersgill can be present.

Mr. Walter was not present at Thursday’s discussion.

Read the complete story in the Aug. 9 issue of The Riverhead News-Review.