Riverhead BID develops mobile app for events like Alive on 25

“Alive on 25?” There’s an app for that! “Cardboard boat race?” There’s an app for that, too.

In fact, the Riverhead Business Improvement District is developing a mobile phone app that will enable users to stay up to date on all of the events planned by the BID’s management association over the course of the year, while also providing information to businesses within the BID, which is a special taxing district in downtown Riverhead.

“This is super exciting,” said Diane Tucci, the BID’s executive director. “We have been developing a mobile app for cell phones. I was originally looking at doing an app for Alive on 25, and once I started getting cost estimates and talking to people, I realized that if we’re going to do that, we should just do downtown Riverhead and include all of the events planned there for the whole year, not just for one event.”

The design phase for the app is is “pretty much approved,” and the next step will be to submit it to Google and iTunes for their approval, which can take up to two weeks, Ms. Tucci said at Wednesday’s meeting of the Business Improvement District Management Association.

“It should be ready to go about a week before the first Alive on 25,” she said.

Alive on 25, which shuts down Main Street in downtown Riverhead for several hours on four Thursdays in order to have vendors and live music in the street, is scheduled to be held on July 13 and 27, and on August 10 and 24. This will be its second year, as BID members say it was very successful in its maiden voyage last summer.

The event is based on Patchogue Village’s “Alive After Five,” which takes place on alternating Thursdays with the Riverhead event so that they don’t compete with one another.

Ms. Tucci said Bridgehampton National Bank has agreed to pay $7,500 to be the season sponsor for the four Alive on 25 events, and also have pledged $2,500 to the BID in general.

Diane Tucci, the BID executive director, shows off the BID mobile app. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The next event planned downtown, which is too soon to benefit from the mobile app, is the Fourth of July Fireworks and Brady Rymer concert in downtown Riverhead, which will be held on Monday, July 3rd, since July 4th is a Tuesday.

Ms. Tucci said the BID has also worked out an arrangement with the Suffolk Theater to allow the Brady Rymer concert to be held there in the event of rain. However, there’s no rain date for the Brady Rymer concert, so the BID would otherwise be out $3,400 if it rains, she said.

Mr. Rymer, a Southold resident, has had two albums nominated for Grammy Awards in best children’s music category in recent years. He has done the July 4th concert in Riverhead for several years now.

Admission to the Suffolk Theater would still be free, but the theater would be guaranteed to make $1,500 on food sales, or else the BID would pay them the difference, under the arrangement planned, Ms. Tucci said.

People’s United Bank, which recently acquired Suffolk County National Bank, has agreed to pay $7,500 to sponsor the July 3 event, Ms. Tucci said.

The next event after that would be the cardboard boat race on Aug. 6, which is being done in conjunction with Riverhead Town and the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce. The Aug. 6 date is much later than usual, as officials are hoping to avoid a possible fish kill like the one that happened in 2015.

Last year, there was no fish kill, but officials were so fearful that one might happened they canceled the boat race.

Other events planned in 2017 include the Halloweenfest on Oct. 28 and the Holiday Bonfire in early December.

The mobile app will have a business directory that can be viewed as a list or on a map, Ms. Tucci said. It will be able to provide information on each business as well as special deals that each business might be offering.

“If Blue Duck Bakery is offering a buy-one, get one free lunch, and you’re waking by Blue Duck, it alerts your phone if you have the app downloaded,” Ms. Tucci said.

“This is probably the wave of the future,” said BID management association member Michael Butler, who owns the Woolworth building and is also planning a food market in the former West Marine building in the downtown.

Steve Shauger, president of BIDMA – BID’s Management Association – who is the general manager of the Hyatt hotel in downtown Riverhead, said his business gets a lot of calls from people asking where to find live music downtown, which is something the app could help with.

Top photo credit: Katharine Schroeder, file

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