The Town of Riverhead has been awarded a $10 million grant that will be used to continue the next phase of long-running efforts to turn around economically struggling Downtown Riverhead, officials said.
The Empire State Development Corporation awarded the town in the fifth found of the the New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) grant funding program to help it jump start projects that would improve downtown’s lure as a destination.
Using a competitive evaluation process, the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council conducted a thorough and comprehensive review of proposals submitted from communities throughout the region. Amityville was also awarded $10 million. Now in its fifth year, the program will invest $200 million in up to 20 additional downtowns statewide.
Riverhead’s downtown is a compact, diverse, mixed-use neighborhood that the town aims to reimagine as a recreational, shopping and tourist destination with the revitalized Peconic River waterfront as its focal point.
“A local planning committee will be formed to provide advisory guidance on how to move potential projects forward in the most efficient and effective manner possible,” said Dawn Thomas, director of Riverhead’s Community Development entity, which submitted the grant application.
Thomas said potential projects identified in the application include Riverhead Town Square, the Railroad Avenue Transit Oriented Development Project, implementing downtown flood mitigation measures, as well as improvements to the Suffolk Theater and Vail Leavitt Music Hall.
“Ensuring local communities have the resources they need to thrive is critical to New York’s economic resurgence,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said. “I have no doubt that with this funding, they won’t only recover from the impacts of COVID-19, but will flourish in the long term.”