At last check, private property owners have every right to remove illegally parked cars from their premises. And when that private property owner happens to be a nonprofit educational center hoping to better attract families from across the county, it should be encouraged to do so and not scolded by those who just happened to miss — or more likely, dismiss — the tow-away signs.
In short, the Long Island Science Center’s goal is to instill scientific curiosity in as many children as possible. To achieve that, its leaders decided the area around the building needed cleaning up to make it more inviting . One aspect of this effort involves making the center more accessible to guests who may not feel comfortable parking on the street and walking through downtown areas that are still very much blighted. Towing the vehicles of people who park in the lot but aren’t visiting the science center helps keep those convenient spots open. It also reinforces the idea that the center is a place where families and children can feel welcome — and safe.
The science center has always been a good neighbor, and is on its way to becoming a better one. Any initial concerns about the towing policy are being addressed.
Another part of the center’s effort involves creating a more park-like atmosphere outside its building, one meant to mirror the neighboring community garden. Those rooting for downtown Riverhead should support these initiatives and not harbor any ill-will toward the center.
Sadly, there’s still plenty of parking available elsewhere downtown.