This Week in Riverhead History: Rezoning and racing at Grumman

09/08/2014 10:00 AM |


15 years ago this week

Flight canceled: Grumman rezoned to exclude airport

The Riverhead Town Board voted Sept. 7, 1999 to strip the former Grumman property of its military use zoning, establishing two new commercial categories.

“Officials hope it will provide a blueprint for prosperity,” we reported in that week’s edition of the News-Review.

The new zones were a planned industrial park and planned recreation park and the Town Board estimated it could help replace the 3,000 jobs lost when Grumman left the property.

“This is a great day for the Town of Riverhead,” said then-Town Supervisor Vinny Villella to a round of applause.

The rezoning came five years after this …

20 years ago this week

High-octane dream for Grumman site

A Bridgehampton race track general manager made a pitch to build a 40,000-seat road racing stadium with a 2.4 mile track and drag strip at the former Grumman facility in Calverton, we reported in the Sept. 8, 1994 issue of the News-Review.

Dennis Macchio made his pitch to a task force reviewing possible future uses for the property. His was one of about a dozen plans presented that summer.

Mr. Macchio estimated the track would attract 500,000 spectators a year adding up to 3,000 jobs and contributing more than $250 million to the local economy.

“I can’t imagine it not being the most successful track in the country,” he said.

Like it or not, Kmart’s coming to Riverhead

On Sept. 9, 1994 Kmart announced the company’s plans to open its store on Route 58 in Riverhead, we reported in that week’s issue of the News-Review.

“Riverhead is an exciting place to be right now,” spokesperson Mary McGeachy said. “We see it as a growth area.”

Opponents of the project called it the “nail in the coffin for downtown Riverhead.”

The store opened in 1995.

Coincidentally, 30 years ago this week developers proposing the “East End Mall” on the same property presented their plans to the Riverhead Town Board. That plan included a multiplex, restaurant, bank, pharmacy, auto service center and supermarket along with 60,000 additional square feet of retail space.

“It’s really handsome,” Supervisor Joe Janoski said of renderings of the mall plan.

25 years ago this week

Blass knocked off November ballot

After 10 years in office, Suffolk County Legislator Greg Blass was defeated in a Republican primary on Sept. 12, 1989. The South Jamesport resident lost by fewer than 300 votes to challenger Michael Caracciolo of Wading River, who would go on to win the general election.

Mr. Blass reclaimed the seat four years later.

Electronic store comes to Riverhead

Newmark & Lewis held its grand opening in the former Harrow’s location on Route 58 in Riverhead the week of Sept. 7, 1989, according to a photo in that week’s News-Review.

The store may be gone now, but who could forget Newmark & Lewis and their owner’s ever-watchful eyes?

70 years ago this week

Chamber seeks garbage disposal

The president of the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce created “quite the sensation” when he offered a “quick, concrete proposal solving the problem of garbage disposal in town, we reported in the Sept. 14, 1944 issue of The County Review.

Garbage would be picked up two days a week at each residence, Albert Warner proposed.

90 years ago this week

Riverhead man takes taxi from Brooklyn

Ambrose “Pip” Burns did an “unusual thing” the week of Sept. 12, 1924, when he took a taxi cab all the way from Brooklyn to his home in Riverhead, we reported in that week’s issue of The Suffolk Times.

“The fare on the clock when Riverhead was reached amounted to the amazing total of $65,” we wrote.

100 years ago this week

New school year begins in Riverhead

Teachers and students returned to Riverhead School for a new year when it reopened the week of Sept. 11, 1914. Enrollment for the start of that school year was 462 elementary students and 110 high school students.