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Riverhead, Southampton towns may partner for $10 million revitalization grant


Riverhead Town officials are debating whether to submit an independent application for a $10 million state grant or apply jointly with Southampton Town.

“It’s a moving target,” Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said Tuesday. “I’m getting conflicting information [from the state] as to whether it’s better to have a joint application or not. I think there’s going to be two applications and we may tie them together with a cover letter.”

New York State’s 10 Regional Economic Development Councils, including one on Long Island, are each offering a $10 million grant to one downtown community.

Southampton Town officials have identified creating a public sewer system in Riverside as key to redevelopment efforts in that hamlet.

South Fork state Assemblyman Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor) had suggested that Riverside and Riverhead apply jointly and Southampton officials have welcomed the idea.

At its work session last Thursday, however, the Riverhead Town Board appeared to have agreed to file its own application with the goal of improving downtown Riverhead.

“We’ve got a lot going on for us downtown,” Riverhead Councilman Tim Hubbard said.

“Let’s put our best foot forward and see what happens,” Mr. Walter added.

The supervisor said four or more dilapidated downtown buildings could be torn down next year, at least two of which are proposed to be replaced by five-story apartment buildings.

“There’s going to be a lot of activity downtown,” Mr. Walter said.

The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council is accepting applications until Friday and decisions are expect by June 30.

Riverhead community development director Chris Kempner is optimistic that the council will award Riverhead a grant.

“They are looking for the investment,” she explained. “They’re looking for the housing options and job growth potential for a region, which is everything we have.”

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