FRNCA Wins Environmetal Justice Grant for Peconic River Park

The wild side of the Peconic River, across from the downtown Riverhead boardwalk, will soon have walking trails.

The Flanders Riverside Northampton Community Association has been awarded a $50,000 Environmental Justice grant from the New York State Department of  Environmental Conservation to help plan the Riverside Maritime Trail Park alongside the Peconic River. 

The purpose of the environmental justice grant program is to provide resources to underserved communities to address environmental factors that may have an impact on community health. Access to local natural assets is among those factors.

FRNCA, with the assistance of Southampton Town’s grant consultant, submitted the grant on behalf of the Riverside/Flanders community to hire a landscape architect to design and plan the park, and to implement several wetland restoration projects along the Peconic River.

“FRNCA is ecstatic that the Town of Southampton and the Suffolk County Parks Department worked with the help of Legislator Fleming so hard to get an inter-municipal agreement in place for our community that allowed us to apply for this grant,” said FRNCA President Ron Fisher. “Being awarded the $50,000 grant is a huge first step in our goal to provide the poorest area of town with access to the Peconic River.”

The community was named Riverside for a reason,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. “They will now be able to access the side of the Peconic River from which their name is derived.”

The Ttwn will assist FRNCA in finding a design consultant, provide professional planning and assist in organizing community meetings and distributing information about the park plan, and will conduct a public health survey, required by the grant, of the Riverside community.

The plan developed using the grant funding will be the basis of future efforts to obtain funding for park development. 

The shoreline restoration plan will be an important element of the park and will also provide specifications for buffer areas required for future development on nearby waterfront properties along the Peconic River. 

The development of the park plan is a critical component of the overall Riverside Redevelopment Action Plan, adopted in December of 2016.

“This is a very important project for the revitalization plan for Riverside,” said FRNCA Vice President Vincent Taldone. “The new park will provide access to the waterfront for residents who have had little in the way to recreational facilities, despite living so close to the river.”

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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