New executive director to take over Riverhead BIDMA

The Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association has a new executive director and is planning a number of events for downtown Riverhead in 2019.

The new executive director is Sarah Mills Sands, a Greenport native who currently lives in West Chester, Pa., and is an executive director of the nonprofit American Helicopter Museum & Education Center in West Chester, where she is in her seventh year, and is transitioning out in anticipation of working full-time in Riverhead.

“I’m very excited to get back to the North Fork,” she said. “Riverhead is in the midst of a renaissance. It has rich history, a strong community and a beautiful location. I am thrilled to be able to contribute to moving the Riverhead BID forward in its mission to foster downtown revitalization and economic development.”

She also served as executive director of a Habitat for Humanity branch in Delaware County, Pa., for four years.

She and her husband, Dave, are building a house in Orient, where they plan to live.

“I have 30 years of nonprofit management experience, including some time out on the East End. I was director of development for Eastern Long Island Hospital for three years in the early ’90s, and I also did some consulting work out there.”

Ms. Sands says that while she’s lived in Pennsylvania, she still took vacations on the North Fork.

“I’ve seen all the changes, some positive and some not positive. It’s a lot busier than it used to be. Riverhead is really on the verge of major improvements and is really taking off, like some other towns in the North Fork; for example, Greenport. It’s an exciting time to be involved here.”

Ms. Sands is replacing former BID executive director, Diane Tucci, who stepped down earlier this year to take a similar job with the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce. She also is running for a Riverhead Town Board seat this fall.

The BIDMA is looking for its executive director to take on an active role in the popular Alive on 25 events, according to BIDMA president Steve Shauger.

“She comes with a lot of nonprofit experience,” he said of Ms. Sands.

Alive on 25 closes Main Street and Peconic Avenue in downtown Riverhead for live music, food and craft sales in the street.

The first Alive on 25 for this year will be tied in with the July 3 fireworks show in downtown Riverhead.

The two events were combined last year as well and drew a huge turnout on July 5.

Other Alive on 25 events are scheduled for July 18, Aug. 1, Aug. 15 and a rain date of Aug. 22 in case any of the earlier events get rained out.

The BIDMA also will be involved in Art in the Park, which will have a light show in Grangebel Park. It is scheduled for July 18, Aug. 1, and Aug. 15, 16 and 17, as well as Sept. 14 and 18. Two of those dates will overlap with Alive on 25.

Other events the BIDMA will be involved in this year are the Aug. 10 cardboard boat race, the Dec. 14 bonfire and parade and the Oct. 26 Halloween Festival.

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