‘Open house’ on March 26 to discuss downtown grant

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | East Main Street looking west near the theater.
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | East Main Street looking west near the theater.

A week from Wednesday, a community meeting will be held to gain feedback from members of the public as the town puts a state grant to use aiming to revitalize distressed parcels in the downtown Riverhead area.

Riverhead earned about $600,000 in a Brownfield Opportunity Area grant in 2011, which were given to 21 communities statewide in order to “revitalize communities, create jobs, support environmental remediation and expand the tax base in distressed neighborhoods that have been adversely affected by multiple brownfield sites.”

The Riverhead study area spans about 450 acres, and the ‘open house’ on March 26 will be led by Sustainable Long Island, a nonprofit that specializes in economic development. Open to the entire public, the meeting will be split into two separate time slots — 3 to 5 p.m., and 7 to 9 p.m. It will be held at 117 E. Main Street, in the space where the weekly farmers market is held right across from the Suffolk Theater.

Attendees will:

  • Hear results from the community survey
  • See the upcoming sidewalk improvements
  • Review preliminary concepts for potential revitalization of the Main Street/Route 25 Corridor
  • Understand existing obstacles to redevelopment of the corridor
  • Discuss strategies on how to successfully move forward

The town board last discussed the BOA grant in early March.

Planner Chick Voorhis, retained by the town to complete a study on how the town should spend some of its BOA dollars, suggested that the town lobby New York State to switch the classification of some parcels around the Peconic River to allow further development.

In addition, Mr. Voorhis shared the results of a survey his company conducted, asking over 800 people a series of questions about their thoughts on downtown Riverhead. Those results are expected to be shared at the March 26 meeting downtown.