Riverhead secures $24 million federal grant for downtown

Supervisor Tim Hubbard announced Friday that Riverhead has been awarded a $24.12 million federal grant from transportation funding to further economic redevelopment in the downtown area.

This follows a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) grant for similar projects from New York State that Riverhead was awarded in 2022.

This time it was a RAISE grant, which stands for Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity, a federal program that municipalities nationwide can apply for.

RAISE funds will facilitate the reclamation of the downtown riverfront for three transportation projects, officials said. 

The majority of the grant funding has been earmarked for the construction of a new parking garage to shift parking away from the riverfront, town officials said. 

In addition, $4.8 million will be allocated for flood protection and $4.6 million will go towards improving area streetscapes.

“I am beyond excited that downtown Riverhead was awarded federal RAISE funding in a highly competitive selection process,” Mr. Hubbard said in a press release. “I am grateful that the application prepared by the community development team was so well received by the federal Department of Transportation after being strongly supported by our entire Congressional delegation.

“On behalf of the entire Riverhead Town Board, and more importantly every Riverhead resident, I want to thank Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Nick LaLota for their diligent advocacy and support of Riverhead’s application,” Mr. Hubbard continued.. “It is bipartisan efforts such as this that prove that government on all levels can come together for the betterment of residents.”

The town has applied for the RAISE  grant every year since 2020, said Dawn Thomas, Riverhead’s director of economic development, planning and building. “The complex application was entirely undertaken by town staff,” who have “been relentless in improving the application each of the last five years,” she added.

Ms. Thomas said the RAISE grant is the largest single funding award in town history.

The RAISE program provides funding for investments in surface transportation infrastructure that will have a significant local or regional impact, officials said.

The funding will allow Riverhead to reclaim the Peconic riverfront for public enjoyment, install necessary flood mitigation measures, spur mixed-use development and make downtown safer and more accessible for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, officials said. 

“I have been glad to work with Riverhead leaders to secure funding for these improvements because I know they will supercharge Riverhead’s renaissance,” Sen.Schumer said.