Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar’s second “State of the Town” address highlighted the expected opening of Island Water Park in the fall, the prospect of drawing ice hockey to Stotzky Park and the continuation of allowing drag racing at the Enterprise Park at Calverton, among other plans.
The supervisor also highlighted the fact that the Town Board adopted its first budget in more than 20 years that did not increase taxes, and that the town received an increase in its bond rating from Moody’s Investor Services.
Ms. Aguiar brought back the tradition of giving the State of the Town Address before the Riverhead Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis clubs at a local restaurant. Her predecessor, Laura Jens-Smith, held the speech in Town Hall, and Mr. Aguiar’s first speech also was in Town Hall due to COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings.
This year’s speech was also livestreamed.
“It is exciting to be provided with the opportunity to address many of Riverhead’s leading voices and discuss the future of our great town as we rebound from the pandemic,” she said Wednesday night at the Sea Star Ballroom.
“I am here to share with you unequivocally, Riverhead’s future is bright and full of promise,” she said.
Among other issues discussed in the speech were the hiring of 19 police officers, largely to replace retiring officers.
“We intend to increase the number of police officers every year,” she said, adding that the town is waiting for additional state funding.
In 2022, the town also funded body cameras for police officers, she said. She added that the town plans to add another Spanish-speaking code enforcement officer to help with rental housing inspections.
The Code Enforcement department issued 1,191 violations, she said.
The town is discussing a plan to build a new underground water storage tank in Wading River, the supervisor said.
“We as a team, are committed and (have) invested funds to protect our residents in Manorville, some of whom are threatened with contaminated water,” she said.
The town received $3.5 million in federal grants for drinking water and hope to get additional funding, the supervisor said.
The process is underway to develop a Town Square along the Peconic Riverfront using land the town purchased so buildings could be demolished to open space. It also is looking to create a Transit Oriented Development in the Railroad Avenue area.
Both of these projects stand to benefit from a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant awarded by the state earlier this year.
“These two projects will require significant public/private partnerships in order to be successful,” she said in her speech.
The town agreed to file an application with Calverton Aviation Technology through the town’s Industrial Development Agency in hopes of expediting the proposed $40 million sale and to ensure that 1,000 acres of environmentally sensitive land will remain protected, Mr. Aguiar said.
She said that by transferring the title to the IDA, “the town will have greater local control of the redevelopment process and require CAT to take continuous and immediate action to ensure its financial commitment to expend at least $1 million in infrastructure to the runways on the property within two years,” as required through the $40 million sale of the land to CAT.
“I am excited about the prospects of Riverhead’s future, and I am committed to working tirelessly to make our mutual goals a reality,” she said. “Our residents deserve nothing less.”
See the full speech below: