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Riverhead’s second historic district eyed for national registry

Riverhead could soon have a second historic district added to the state and national list of historic places.

The state Board for Historic Preservation recommended adding the Second and Ostrander Historic District in Riverhead to the State and National Registers of Historic Places, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said last week. It was among 21 other properties, resources and districts statewide — including four others on Long Island — recommended for the registry.

Richard Wines, chairman of Riverhead’s Landmarks Preservation Committee, said Friday that he was “excited” by the news, noting the effort to mark the district as a historic site was almost a decade in the making.

“It’s been a major project for our commission,” Wines said.

The district is north of downtown Riverhead and has a local historic designation.

The committee started working eight years ago on the necessary steps to landmark the district, which Wines said contains several homes that date to the 1800s. Some homes were built in a Greek Revival architectural style that has since become rare on Long Island, Wines said.

As the committee began to take a look at the district, Wines added, it became apparent that despite the historic homes, it was an area that “needs to be discovered, needs to attract renovation and restoration.”

Wines said some of the homes in the area are not being maintained. “Some of the landlords are more interested in rental income than upkeep,” he said. “Bottom line is owners are not investing in their houses. Some are, and some look shabby.”

Committee members volunteered to document and photograph the history of the buildings and the area, a process that required outside help from high school students and a consultant, among others.

The district still requires final approval by the state historic board and the U.S. Department of the Interior before it can be officially added to the state and national registry lists, which Wines said could be completed by late fall.

Riverhead’s first historic district, a section of the downtown area running along Main Street stretching from Griffing Avenue to Maple Avenue, was included in 2012 on the national historic registry.

Jodi Giglio, who serves as the town board’s liaison with the committee, said she was “thrilled,” noting that residents in the district could also apply for state tax credits while the districts are being considered for final approval on the state registry.

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said Friday that the announcement was “wonderful.”

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