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‘Town square’ in Riverhead could be in line for state grant money

Riverhead Town’s plan to create a “town square” downtown, along the Peconic River, may be in line for state grant money.

The project was one several recommended by the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council in a meeting last Friday.

A July 16 Town Board resolution authorizing the grant application stated: “The creation of a Town Square along the Peconic River, opening up views and driving foot traffic to the riverfront, and creating a public gathering space which would also provide recreational amenities, art exhibition, and performance spaces, has long been a state goal in the town’s many planning documents over the past 20 years. ”

Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said officials are happy the project has been recommended and that the economic development council saw value in it.

“We’re hoping the governor signs off on them and funds them,” she said.

The recommendation is not a guarantee the project will be funded, and town officials don’t know exactly how much of the cost will be covered if it does receive funding.

The LIREDC’s recommendation counts for 20 points on a 100-point recommendation scale, with various state agencies accounting for the other 80.

The final selections will be announced in December.

“It’s one more step in the path to get there,” Ms. Jens-Smith said.

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The Town Board in July authorized a consolidated funding application to the state for Town Square project alone, seeking $4.6 million, with the town paying a $1.45 million match.

Those numbers represent several different funding sources to which the town applied for money for the Town Square project.

A Town Square in downtown Riverhead also was recommended in the town’s application for a Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant in July.

That grant, which gives one municipality on Long Island $10 million, also came from the LIREDC and was instead awarded to the Baldwin in Nassau County.

Ms. Jens-Smith said that grant was more of a “vision.”

“It was a downtown revitalization vision, so we had the Town Square included in the package with it,” she said.

The current grant application is specifically for this project.

State officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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