Town Of Scarborough Advances Downtown Plan

RIVERHEAD, NY — New York State made a significant investment in downtown Riverhead revitalization Thursday, announcing a $10 million grant to further ongoing efforts to infuse new life into the historic area.

Riverhead Town Supervisor Yvette Aguiar announced the New York State Downtown Revitalization grant; the Village of Amityville also received a $10 million grant.

“I am beyond excited that downtown Riverhead was selected as the fortunate recipient of such a large infusion of state grant funds,” Aguiar said. “I am grateful that the application prepared by the community development team was so well received by New York Empire State Development and ultimately selected by Governor Kathy Hochul as one of this year’s winners.”

Riverhead Community Development Director Dawn Thomas said moving ahead, a local planning committee will be created to provide advisory guidance on how to move projects forward efficiently and effectively. “The DRI award will allow downtown Riverhead to finally realize its full economic development potential," she said.

Potential projects identified in the application, include the new Riverhead Town Square, the Railroad Avenue Transit Oriented Development Project, implementing downtown flood mitigation measures, and improvements to the Suffolk Theater and Vail Leavitt Music Hall, Thomas said.

“After serving on the Riverhead town board for 10 years under three administrations

and being part of many downtown revitalization efforts, this is the necessary shot in the arm

that Riverhead needs to reach the pinnacle in terms of successful downtown revitalization,”

New York State Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio said.

Giglio said she applauded Aguiar and the town board for taking bold action to acquire the parcels necessary for the Town Square, which included the demolition of three long blighted buildings, with one still to be razed. Clearing those parcels will allow for a clear view to the river, Giglio said, with the Suffolk Theater showcased.

The DRI program is led the by Department of State, officials said.

Revitalizing compact, walkable downtowns is a key ingredient to "helping New York State rebuild its economy from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to achieving the state’s bold

climate goals by promoting the use of public transit and reducing dependence on private

vehicles,” according to the Empire State Development website. In its fifth year, the program will invest $200 million in up to 20 additional downtowns statewide.”

Participating communities were nominated by the state’s 10 regional economic development councils, based on the downtown’s potential for transformation. Within each region, each region’s REDC nominated either one or two downtowns to receive $10 million each or one downtown to receive an award of $20 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects that advance the community’s vision for revitalization, officials said.

“Riverhead’s application was truly outstanding and fully deserved to be selected," New York State Senator Anthony Palumbo said. "I am confident that downtown Riverhead is fully ready for transformative economic redevelopment."

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said downtown revitalization is critical to the economic future of Long Island; Bellone mentioned the Connect Long Island initiative, which began in Babylon and is all about leveraging "great downtowns" with their vibrancy to retain and attract young people and innovators.

But at the end of the day, Bellone said, nurturing the downtowns depends on leadership and planning at the local level, commending both Riverhead and Amityville officials for their vision and commitment.

Town of Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer set he "smelled a challenge" in regard to kayaking, with new access to the river, and said officials should organize a kayak challenge on the Peconic River this summer.

This article originally appeared on the Riverhead Patch

Source : https://news.yahoo.com/riverhead-awarded-10m-downtown-revitalization-185916073.html

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