Riverside receives $236k in state grant funding

TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Route 24 in Riverside, where a new 'Main Street' is envisioned.
TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Route 24 in Riverside, where a new ‘Main Street’ is envisioned.

Southampton Town has received a $236,900 Brownfield Opportunity Area grant from New York State to conduct a revitalization plan for the Riverside area.

There are 15 “brownfield” sites in Riverside, which are defined as “dormant properties where the presence or potential presence of contamination has impeded site redevelopment, turning the properties into economic and environmental drains on communities.”

The proposed revitalization plan will address the “Integration and coordination of Town, County, and State efforts, including road improvement, sewer feasibility, and coastal planning studies that are already in progress; The potential for the redevelopment of strategic sites by a master developer’: and quality of life issues such as property maintenance and code enforcement, recruitment of businesses to provide needed goods and services, development of recreation opportunities and waterfront access on public lands, and improved solid waste management services,” according to statement from the town.

There are already several other planning studies in progress for the Riverside area, including a sewer feasibility, a traffic improvement study, a waterfront protection plan, and grant applications to create a walking trail from Flanders Road to the Peconic River and a walking bridge over the river into downtown Riverhead, according to Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst.

In addition, a Flanders/Northampton/Riverside Revitalization Study was completed less than a decade ago.

All aim at revitalizing the distressed hamlet, which has a median income of under $40,000, according to census data – well below the county’s $87,000 and nearby Riverhead hamlet’s $51,000. Riverside was chosen as one of 26 areas across the state to receive a portion of $10 million overall in BOA funding.

Riverhead Town also received a $569,000 BOA grant two years ago and is currently in the process of doing a similar study for the downtown and West Main Street areas.

The Southampton Town Board was scheduled to discuss the Riverside grant its work session on Thursday morning.

“The NYS Brownfields Opportunity Area grant will add much needed state financial support to local economic development initiatives by identifying ways to safely and productively redeploy long dormant or underutilized ‘brownfield’ properties for economic development,” said Vince Taldone, the president of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association, in a town press release.