Letter to the Riverhead Town Board: Include Community on Quality of Life Committee
To Ms. Aguiar, Mr. Beyrodt, Mr. Hubbard, Mr. Kern, Mr. Rothwell,
The Quality of Life Action Group members of the Heart of Riverhead Civic Association have noted that the Town Board voted to establish a town level committee to research, network and advance solutions to the quality of life challenges faced here in Riverhead, especially those that directly impact our downtown community.
This committee, if effectively led and supported by the Town Board, can serve as an important first step to addressing these challenges. While we all agree as to the importance of this step, we must at the same time raise concern about the proposed committee as presently constituted.
Unfortunately, this committee currently resembles many other committees established by the Town Board, broadly incorporating business leaders and their interests while ignoring the voices of taxpaying residents, community groups and advocate organizations that will be directly impacted by the work of this committee.
This is untenable and will not derive the desired result.
The Heart of Riverhead Civic Association was formed one year ago to ensure that the voices of downtown residents are heard and considered in the decision making process for policies that will directly impact our community.
Additionally, HRCA has been (under the aegis of the QOL Action Group) actively engaged for the last six months in gathering information from Riverhead Town officials, local law enforcement, Suffolk County government and legislative representation, advocate organizations and downtown businesses about the very issues this committee proposes to address.
As such, we call on the Town Board to expand this committee to represent all stakeholders here in The Heart, this includes, but is not limited to:
- A member of the HRCA Quality of Life Action Group,
- Representative(s) of advocate organization(s) that offer services to our unhoused population
- A representative of Riverhead Central School District
- A representative from Suffolk County Health and Human Services
- A local resident who has experienced the multi-faceted challenges of homelessness
- An at large seat for a downtown resident not currently affiliated with the above organizations
If the goal is to bring effective change to Riverhead and address the quality of life challenges witnessed here in The Heart, we must start by bringing all parties to the table and listening to all voices in our diverse downtown community.
Our Quality of Life Action Group will contribute valuable research and perspective to develop long-term solutions to effectively address the challenges faced by our downtown community. To jumpstart this collaboration we ask to be contacted as soon as is practical at (631) 496-0583 or via email at HeartofRiverheadCivic@gmail.com.
Editor’s Note: The Riverhead Town Quality of Life Committee meets the third Monday of each month at 4 p.m. at Riverhead Town Hall, including this Monday, May 15. The public is permitted to attend town committee meetings.