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RECAP: Consultants pitch plans for $600K downtown grant

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | The Riverhead Town Board work session is at 10 a.m.

The Riverhead Town Board heard presentations from four consulting groups on how they would use a more than $560,000 state grant to conduct demographic studies, revitalize and market downtown Riverhead during a work session meeting Thursday morning.

The four firms responded to a request for proposals from the town, and would be paid using a $567,000 NYS Brownfield Opportunity Area grant awarded to the town last spring.

The four teams included the Nelson, Pope & Voorhis planning firm, Vision Long Island, AKRF and BFJ Planning, which is currently conducting the Route 25A corridor study in Wading River.

An important part of the studies conducted by the winning firm would have to be a demographic survey of the area, including regional visitors to downtown Riverhead, said Supervisor Sean Walter.

Mr. Walter said he would like to have a study he could show to businesses such as a movie theater to entice them to come to downtown Riverhead, adding that he currently uses demographic surveys from Splish Splash or Tanger.

Town Councilmen George Gabrielsen and John Dunleavy also asked how the candidates would evaluate traffic and parking concerns around town, while Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said the winning bid would need experience dealing with environmental concerns and the state Department of Environmental Conservation due to downtown’s connection to the Peconic river.

The Town Board, which also invited Tanger Outlet general manager Janine Nebons, Bryan DeLuca from the Long Island Aquarium, and Ray Pickersgill of the Riverhead Business Improvement District to the meeting, did not announce a decision about which firm to choose.

For the full recap of the meeting, read the liveblog below: