Riverhead has been awarded a $500,000 state grant from the Environmental Protection Fund to complete Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Trail, a multipurpose athletic trail around Calverton Enterprise Park.
Riverhead Town officials confirmed the grant announcement from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office last Friday.
The construction of the 8.9-mile trail began in 2008, jump-started by a $100,000 grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to complete 3.2 miles of the trail.
The town has since obtained two grants — one state grant for $150,000 and a Suffolk County grant of $200,000 — which have gone toward building the trail, which state and local officials have said will help provide Riverhead residents with more local recreational outdoor options such as biking and hiking.
Supervisor Sean M. Walter said the completed trail will have “significant public recreational benefit. It will clearly reduce speeds on roadways for pedestrian and bicyclist crossing safety, provide safer dedicated off-road connections for existing bicyclist and pedestrian networks, as well as to encourage increased bicycling and pedestrian activity and remove cars from the road.”
Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, who heads the Town of Riverhead’s Alternative Transportation Committee, praised the grant funding.
“Biking, walking and running are no-cost, family friendly activities,” Giglio said. “The trail will significantly benefit Riverhead families by providing a safe outlet to participate in healthy activities, while increasing users’ appreciation of the natural environment in the scenic Pine Barrens and provide a sense of place.”