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Officials discuss upgrades for South Jamesport Beach park

Riverhead officials are considering whether South Jamesport beach could someday resemble Suffolk County’s Meschutt Beach in Hampton Bays, and whether the town could accomplish that by signing a long-term lease with a vendor who would in turn renovate the snack stand there. 

“South Jamesport has the best potential” of the town’s beaches, said Ray Coyne, superintendent of Riverhead’s parks and recreation department. 

“It has all the amenities, like a Meschutt Beach. That’s what I’m trying to get down there,” he said at last Thursday’s Town Board work session. 

The county health department currently allows only packaged and bottled food items to be sold at the snack stand at South Jamesport Beach. 

“I’d like to do something different, like to serve hamburgers or chicken sandwiches,” Mr. Coyne said. “Even down the road, I can see serving alcohol on the East Creek site.”

He added that this is not something that could happen this year, but said he’d like to look into it for the 2020 season. 

“I just want to put it out there and see what kind of bites we can get,” Mr. Coyne said. 

Selling alcohol would require State Liquor Authority approval, he said, and the building would have to be brought up to health department standards for cooking. 

“It needs fans, it needs sinks, it needs a lot,” he said. 

Councilman Jim Wooten estimated that $100,000 in renovations would be needed.

“Currently, we don’t allow alcohol at our parks,” Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said. A code change would be required if the board sought to sell alcohol at the beach, she said. 

Councilwoman Catherine Kent noted that a lot of Riverhead residents go to Meschutt. 

“I definitely like the idea moving forward so that we can have events like they do in Meschutt,” she said. 

Mr. Wooten agreed. “They have a car show, a band, a restaurant. It’s a nice event,” he said. 

“I’d like to move forward with a request for proposals or request for information to find out if there is interest,” Mr. Wooten said. “If I had the money, I’d do it in a heartbeat.”

Board members discussed allowing food trucks at town beaches and parks in the interim. 

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