Featured Letter: Why vote against community center?

To the editor:

I would like to begin by saying that I love Riverhead. I’ve been a resident for 45 years and witnessed the town go through many ups and downs. When I was in junior high school, I remember my parents and their friends complaining that we didn’t have any programs for our youth. When my kids were in school, it remained the same. My granddaughter is now a freshman in college; her brother just turned 11. Riverhead is the Suffolk County seat.

Yet we have no YMCA. No Boys & Girls Club. No public pool.

Now, the president of Little League is resigning and there is uncertainty regarding a replacement. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island has made a presentation and several attempts to approach our school board to begin a program here. This is a proven, highly successful organization that provides free specially trained dedicated mentors to children from single-parent homes. The children are matched with “bigs” who have similar hobbies and interests. I have seen how this program enhances the lives of the “bigs” as well as the “littles.” Some bigs end up putting their littles through college.

Riverhead was not receptive. Sag Harbor has it. Hampton Bays jumped on it. Now Southampton wants it and I have been asked to help.

I am on the advisory board for the Family Community Life Center nonprofit group. The group’s project has been stalled for decades.

Aside from the positive impact the project, which would include 24-hour day care, will have on our area — including more than $50 million in construction contracts and $22 million in wages for residents — it will benefit the entire community!

As a community servant, leader and taxpayer, I expect that those I vote for will make decisions in the community’s best interest.

I would like to know why these exciting programs have not been approved.

Since the town cannot or will not pay for these services — and the First Baptist Church Community Life Center is willing to make this dream a reality at no cost to the town, as well as having support from all levels of government except our own town — It just does not make sense to me.

Felecia Wilson, Riverhead