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Dog park, hiking and kayaking envisioned for Riverside maritime park

A dog park, hiking trails, and a kayak launch are among the amenities proposed for Southampton Town’s Riverside Maritime Trail Park.

The project, which is still in the design phase, was presented to the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association Monday to seek further input. Suffolk County owns the 14-acre site along the Peconic River in Riverside and has an intermunicipal agreement with the town to develop the park. 

In December 2018, a conceptual plan of the park was submitted to the Southampton Town Board, which decided to move forward with the project. The town hired Cashin Associates and engineering company AECOM as consultants to develop construction plans for the site last October, according to town planning director Dave Wilcox.

“The construction plans will be based on the conceptual plans, which the community had significant input into,” he said.

Monday’s FRNCA meeting was the first public meeting to present the construction plans, which were similar to the conceptual plan.

“They will next go to the Town Board as preliminary plans and will be guided by the Town Board’s input,” Mr. Wilcox said.

The anticipated cost of the project, which was discussed in the conceptual plans, was $2.6 million over two phases. Officials said at the time that the town would seek grant money to offset those costs.

Each phase of the project is expected to take about nine months to complete, officials said.

“We did not stray from the conceptual plan,” said Paul DiMaria of Cashin Associates.

He said there are 13 features in the proposal: a parking lot and comfort station, a bioswale, a multi-use trail, two “loop walks,” a fitness trail, a woodland trail, a kayak launching platform, three fishing piers, a group fitness platform, a children’s discovery trail, a dog park and a performance space and outdoor classroom.

The bioswale will guide rainwater away from paved areas so it percolates back into the groundwater and contaminants will be filtered out by plants, according to John Rollino of AECOM.

The half-mile main trail, called a multipurpose trail, starts at Flanders Road and continues to the end of the property at the Peconic River. That trail will be about 12 feet wide, whereas other trails on the site would range from six to nine feet wide.

The Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association heard a presentation on the Riverside Maritime Trail Park at its meeting Monday. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

The parking lot and comfort station will be on the southwest corner of the property, Mr. DiMaria said. The parking lot would have a permeable pavement, where water could go back into the ground.

The dog park would have one area for smaller dogs and another for big dogs.

The question of whether the dog park should be natural grass or artificial turf is yet to be decided.

Other features of the project are the removal of invasive plants and restoration of wetlands on the site.

“I think it went extremely well,” FRNCA president Vince Taldone said after the meeting. “What they presented is basically what the concept plan showed. There were a few concerns but nothing major, because this is what we’ve already spent years publicly sourcing. We went door-to-door asking people what they wanted to see in the park.

He said the dog park was something that was added as a result of public input.

Mr. Taldone said he plans to meet with Riverhead Town officials to get their input.

At one point several years ago, the plan called for a pedestrian bridge over the river that would take people from Riverside to Riverhead and vice-versa.

That component is not currently part of the plan due to cost.