The Suffolk County Historical Society in Riverhead received a $500,000 grant as part the $84.3 million awarded to 98 projects by the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council.
The grant was part of $84.3 million allocated by the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council for 98 projects, several of them in Riverhead and Southampton towns. That money, in turn, was part of $755 million in funding distributed by New York State through its Regional Economic Development Council initiative.
The historical society will use the grant funds to install an indoor elevator and create two restrooms that comply with the American with Disability Act, according to a press release.
• Riverhead Town was given $10,000 to complete a strategic assessment of downtown parking needs and develop a related plan.
• The Town of Southampton got $26,000 to design and construct the Riverside Maritime Trail along the Peconic River.
• Graphene Laboratories in Calverton, a supplier of nanocarbon and graphene materials, received $500,000 to relocate to a larger facility and acquire new machinery and equipment.
• Georgica Green Ventures received $300,000 toward Riverview Lofts, its mixed-use development project in downtown Riverhead.
• North Fork Authentic received $150,000 to establish a North Fork regional brand to support local agritourism and products. Further information on the business and its goals was unavailable.
• The Peconic Land Trust also received substantial funding, including $500,000 as part of its New York State Grown and Certified Agricultural Grant program. This program provides money to Long Island farmers who need to make capital investments in order to meet the food safety requirements for participation in the state’s Grown and Certified program.
The land trust also received $2.3 million for its Regional Aquifer Protection Land Acquisition Program, which will develop a source water protection program. In its first year, the program will purchase 85 acres in Brookhaven Town, protecting land within the Peconic Estuary Watershed, Forge River Watershed and South Shore Estuary Reserve.
• East End Tourism Alliance was awarded $187,000 for its Craft Beverage Promotion Weekends, a series of thematic events that cross-market craft beverages and local farm products with other cultural or tourism assets. Each weekend will have a specific theme, like art, history, literature or music.
• The Long Island Wine Council received $150,000 for Wine Tourism Marketing Project, which is a marketing plan aimed at millennials in order to capture more of the growing oenotourism market.
• The North Fork Promotion council got $112,500 to initiate “train to trolley” services and promote awareness of the North Fork Trolley, which will run on weekends between May and November 2018.
The local grant awards faced some backlash. Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) released a statement saying that previously funded initiatives have failed.
“Today Gov. Cuomo once again tossed around millions of taxpayer dollars as if he was the host of a game show,” Mr. Palumbo said. “This as two of his top aides face federal corruption charges related to investment in his previous, failed economic development programs. The numbers do not lie, these initiatives have failed and produced a very minimal number of jobs in regard to the amount of taxpayer dollars being invested into these programs.”
He also called for greater transparency in the process of selecting grant recipients.
“Although I fully support investment in Long Island, I believe that it being done in this manner is troubling. We need greater oversight and transparency in the process, as well as proof that the funds are being spent properly and efficiently,” Mr. Palumbo said.