Weeks before he bids farewell to public office, Riverhead Town Councilman George Gabrielsen accomplished one of his final goals: unveiling a new playground in the Millbrook Gables neighborhood.
Mr. Gabrielsen joined other town officials on a rainy Thursday afternoon in the “pocket park” on Lewis Street to commemorate the space’s development. Attendees strung a red ribbon across new playground equipment that was installed last month. Recreation Advisory Committee member Larry Williams was given the honor cutting the ribbon.
“This new set of playground equipment is long overdue if you realize the amount of deterioration that came to this equipment over the years,” Mr. Williams said.
The town has focused on revitalizing the small park over the past several years. In 2010, it purchased an adjoining lot from the county and demolished a building on the lot to make the park bigger, and since then, the space has been cleaned up.
Last month, the town spent about $16,000 to install a new set of playground equipment, including a slide and a miniature rock wall. That set takes the place of old, dilapidated equipment that had been “ignored,” Mr. Gabrielsen said. A swing set will also be installed sometime in the spring.
“I wanted to get this one finished,” Mr. Gabrielsen said. “This was a big goal.”
Mr. Gabrielsen also noted the money came from the collection of parks and recreation fees, not from the town’s general fund.
“It’s another one of the many pocket parks that we’ve addressed,” he said. “It’s a good community park, and you can see that with the expansion and the new playground equipment.”
Mr. Williams, who grew up nearby, worked with Mr. Gabrielsen on the park project and said he feels it will be an important addition for the Millbrook Gables area.
“The neighborhood has changed to a degree, and there’s more children in this neighborhood now than ever,” he said. “When I look at this today, I’m surprised and I’m definitely happy about what I’m seeing.”
Top photo: Councilman George Gabrielsen (right) said installing new equipment at the pocket park in Millbrook Gables was one of his goals before he leaves office in a few weeks. (Credit: Chris Lisinski)