Town eyeing $45M in grants for Town Square, transit-oriented development

Riverhead Town is planning to apply for $45 million in state and federal grants, according to town Community Development Agency director Dawn Thomas.

The town is seeking a $25 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant and a state grant that could bring in up to $20 million, Ms. Thomas said.

“We are working on a bunch of different grant opportunities” she said. 

New York State has previously offered $10 million Downtown Revitalization Grants, which go to one municipality in each of 10 statewide regions, and for which Riverhead has applied in the past. 

Nassau and Suffolk counties are considered one region, and Nassau municipalities have won the regional grant three of the four times it’s been available. Other regional grant recipients have been Baldwin, Hicksville and Central Islip

This year, that state grant is for up to $20 million, Ms. Thomas said, adding that it’s possible that one municipality could be awarded the whole amount or that the $20 million could be split evenly between two municipalities. 

No award was made in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The state is looking for one to two large transformational projects that would have a significant impact on downtown,” Ms. Thomas said. “We feel the transportation-oriented development [by the railroad station] and our Town Square are those type of projects.”

The federal program, called Raise 2021, is intended for transformative projects, which also could apply to Riverhead’s TOD and Town Square projects.

Both grants are expected to be awarded by the end of the year. 

“They’re extremely competitive,” Mr. Thomas said, adding that the federal grant will attract more applicants because it’s national.