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 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.