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Local projects awarded grant money for downtown revitalization

Three area projects were recipients of Suffolk County’s Downtown Revitalization grants this week.

Over $500,000 in total was given to 11 downtown areas throughout the county.

• The Riverhead Town Public Parking District received $74,925 to remove the existing concrete islands and restripe the town parking lot north of Main Street.

The proposal, which has been proposed by local architect Martin Sendlewski several times over the years, would create an additional 67 parking spaces in the so-called “Woolworth lot,” while removing some trees and concrete islands.

The town had hoped to use grant money and parking district funds to enact Mr. Sendlewski’s proposal. The estimate then was about $140,000.

At the Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association meeting Wednesday night, developer Robert Muchnick said he will pay the $167,000 now needed to restripe the north parking lot, and if the town receives a grant beforehand, he will still donate that money to the town for parking improvements.

Mr. Muchnick is proposing to build a 170-unit apartment complex on the south side of East Main Street. The land is in the parking district as of now, but the Town Board is considering changing that. Mr. Muchnick originally proposed 88 parking spaces, but has since said he will likely have at least 170 spaces and likely more.

• The Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association received $30,000 in grants for upgrading an existing walking and biking entryway from County Route 94 to Riverhead Town’s Grangebel Park.

The upgrade will add permeable pavers, benches, lighting and bike racks, officials say.

• The Mattituck-Laurel Civic Association received $56,300 in grants to redesign and rebuild the Raymond Dean Municipal Parking Lot in Mattituck.

The plan calls for adding 30 more parking spaces.

“Our downtowns are essential to keeping our region competitive and attracting the high skill, high knowledge workers we need to grow our local economy,” said County Executive Steve Bellone in a press release.

The county had received 18 applications for the grants, of which 11 were chosen.

Since 1997, the county has awarded $12.2 million in funds for downtown revitalization initiatives.

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