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$15G grant sought for new Flanders walking trail
A special Suffolk downtown revitalization committee has recommended approval of a $15,000 grant to help pay for construction of a 1,000-foot-long walking trail in Flanders that would run through county parkland on Flanders Road to the Peconic River.
The trail, which would end up across the river from the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center, would begin at an existing sidewalk on Flanders Road, and -- according to Legis. Jay Schneiderman -- could eventually link up to a pedestrian footbridge across the Peconic River that would allow residents of the Flanders area to walk to Riverhead’s downtown business district. A separate state grant has been sought to construct that bridge, Schneiderman said.
Suffolk County purchased the 14-acre waterfront park in Flanders in 2011 for $2.4 million, but it has never been developed.
Schneiderman (I-Montauk) said the recommendation by the Downtown Revitalization Citizens Advisory Panel is a key approval that was needed before the legislature could consider funding the project, which is expected to cost between $30,000 and $50,000. Southampton Town has agreed to assist the county with the park development, he added.
The park and the footbridge are part of an overall redevelopment plan for Flanders and the adjoining Riverside area, which includes adding sewage service and redesigning the traffic circle on the south side of the Peconic River, which now has five roads feeding into it and is regularly subject to traffic backups.
“This is an economically challenged area,” Schneiderman said. “You can see boarded-up house after boarded-up house.” He said long-range plans call for improving housing and bringing in some stores, possibly a small supermarket. He said the park could be finished by next year, and that long-range improvements could be finished in three to five years.