Downtown Riverhead
Downtown Riverhead

Consultants who are working on an ongoing study of improving the vitality of downtown Riverhead are looking for public input next week on the community’s vision for downtown Riverhead.

Two meetings will be held on Wednesday, March 26  from 3 to 5 p.m. and again from 7 to 9 p.m. at 117 East Main Street, the former Swezey’s Department Store, which is now home to the Riverhead Farmers Market.

Over the past year, Sustainable Long Island has compiled more than 800 responses to a survey of the public’s impression of downtown Riverhead, which was presented to the Riverhead Town Board at a work session in late February. That presentation is available online here.

The majority of respondents to the survey said they go to downtown Riverhead to eat, and wish there were more cafés and coffee shops and unique shops, as well as more entertainment, downtown.

They also said they’d like to see better utilization of the riverfront, improved pedestrian access, fewer empty storefronts, better use of public space and for Riverhead to work out its identity crisis.

The March 26 sessions will be set up in the format of an open house, and participants are welcome to come at any time and stay as long as they wish.

The study area is highlighted in blue.
The study area is highlighted in blue.

The project is being funded through a $567,000 New York State Department of State Brownfields Opportunity Area grant to study revitalizing an area encompassing 452 acres along Route 25 between Tanger Mall and Riverhead Town Hall.

Together with the environmental consulting firm Nelson, Pope, Voorhis and architects and designers Hawkins, Webb and Jaeger, the consulting team is looking into creating a walkable corridor along the river and Route 25, enhancing the downtown Riverhead hamlet center, putting in place a system of parks and greenways along the river, and improving recreational access to the water.

At the public open house, attendees will be able to visit several stations manned by members of the consultant team, including engineers and planners, where they can learn about analysis of transportation, economics, land use an zonings, the upcoming state DOT sidewalk project and the Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers program.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she 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

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