New committee seeks site for proposed bus garage in Riverhead
Riverhead school officials, following a bitter protest this year over the school board's plan to build a bus garage in Southampton Town, are creating a volunteer committee to find another site for the facility.
The sprawling school district, which transports 5,000 students each day with its fleet of more than 100 buses, covers most of the western part of Riverhead, but also takes in small sections of Brookhaven and Southampton towns.
Its only school building outside Riverhead town is the Phillips Avenue school, which is on the south side of the Peconic River in Southampton. Space next to that school was available for the proposed garage.
The current bus depot off Osborne Avenue in Riverhead was built 90 years ago, and takes up space in a central area of the district's main campus.
No one argues that the bus depot needs replacing; the issue is where it should go. The committee will also look at tearing it down and constructing a new one at the same location.
In May, district residents approved creating a special fund for the new bus depot, but voted against building it next to the Phillips Avenue school after Flanders residents complained it was just an effort to dump Riverhead's problems in Southampton, and that every bus in the district would end up fighting rush-hour traffic.
Riverhead school Superintendent Nancy Carney, in a prepared statement, said the district is looking for community residents "with expertise in real estate and transportation" to help decide what to do next, and that another referendum would be needed before any project could begin.
District residents interested in volunteering can email the superintendent at firstname.lastname@example.org