Featured Letter: First Baptist plans would benefit all of Riverhead

An artist’s rendering of the main atrium at the Family Community Life Center’s recreational and other facilities.
A rendering of the main atrium at the Family Community Life Center’s planned rec center.

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to some thoughts on drug arrests found in both a recent News-Review editorial and a follow-up letter from Richard Park. I agree that we can’t arrest our way out of a gang problem.

More convictions aren’t the answer. As a community, we need to provide our youth with alternatives to drugs and gangs. As the News-Review pointed out, Riverhead has no YMCA or large recreation center. We need to offer a safe place for our teens to hang out and have fun, one with structure and supervision. The town’s answer is that we can’t afford anything like that now.

My question is, why then does the Riverhead Town Board continue to fight the building of the Family Community Life Center as proposed by the First Baptist Church of River-head? Costing the town no financial outlay, the proposal would provide not only recreational facilities for the entire community, but also much-needed adult day care facilities and affordable rental apartments. This plan has been endorsed by business and civic leaders not only in River-head, but throughout Suffolk County and yet the Town Board continues to place roadblocks to its completion.

I am not a member of the First Baptist Church nor am I interested in renting an apartment at any time. I am, however, a born and raised member of the Riverhead community.

I want to be proud of our town as a place where people want to live and where innovative solutions to community needs are met with open arms.

Deborah Wallace, RIVERHEAD