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Using art to welcome influx of new residents to downtown Riverhead

More than 900 people applied for a lottery to live in Peconic Crossing

Pat Snyder, the outgoing executive director of East End Arts, proposed an idea to the Riverhead Town Board to apply for a grant to bring art to downtown that will welcome residents living in new apartments currently under construction.

“The idea is to use the arts for social impact where we’re calling the grant, ‘Welcome Home’ targeting the fact that we’re going to have this large influx of new residents in downtown Riverhead by next year,” Ms. Snyder said at Thursday’s Town Board work session.

The $50,000 equal matching “Our Town” grant by the National Endowment for the Arts requires a municipal partnership, said community development administrator Dawn Thomas. Match funds will be sought through other grants available in Suffolk County and the state.

It’s a way to build community through the arts, Ms. Snyder said. If approved, the project would aim to use artists that live in the new Peconic Crossing apartments on West Main Street. A lottery was held for the affordable apartments last week, one step in narrowing down 900 applicants. After a screening process, priority for selection will go to artists. The downtown is essentially a “living room,” for those living there, Ms. Snyder said. The plan isn’t fully formed yet, but there are events already happening that can be incorporated into the idea and enhanced to bring in the residents, she said.

Photo caption: Peconic Crossing in downtown Riverhead will feature 45 apartments. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

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