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Community garden planned for Riverhead

The proposed site for the community park in

The proposed site for the community park in downtown Riverhead. Credit: Handout

If all goes as planned, the downtown Riverhead community will have a 40-bed community garden growing on West Main Street by the spring.

The Riverhead Town Board will hold a public hearing at 2 p.m. Tuesday on the proposal by the local nonprofit group River and Roots to build the garden on a currently empty plot of land at West Main Street and Griffing Avenue.

Laurie Nigro, a founder of River and Roots, said she and co-founder Amy Davidson approached the town board last year and have been working with Deputy Supervisor Jill Lewis to find the right plot of land. The trio selected the site on West Main Street, which borders the river, but Nigro said they ran into a setback when they discovered the land might have been promised to a veterans group for a war memorial.

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“We had heard that during a previous administration, someone had agreed to let veterans use that property for a memorial,” Nigro said. “We were on hold while they tried to figure out if they were still interested.”

But Supervisor Sean Walter said the board contacted the local Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and a combined veterans group, and no one knew of the agreement or expressed interest in the land.

Nigro said the garden, to be called the River and Roots Community Garden, will have 40 10-foot by 4-foot beds that will be available to downtown Riverhead residents on a first-come, first-serve basis. If there are open beds, a lottery will be opened up to the greater Riverhead area. Anyone given a bed will be expected to pay a small fee, which Nigro said will be the cost of liability insurance and the water bill, split among the entire group.

“We are hoping it will be no more than $20 a person,” she said of the yearly cost.

Walter said the board doesn’t expect opposition to the proposal at Tuesday’s hearing and hopes to move forward with the community garden as soon as possible.

“I think we’re going to be in fantastic shape,” he said. “These ladies will be part of the block-by-block, store-by-store turnaround of downtown Riverhead.”

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