Economic development, water quality and code enforcement were among the topics Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar touched on in her recent State of the Town address.
Aguiar, who delivered her speech from the Atlantis Sea Star Ballroom on East Main Street on June 29, said the town had taken steps to transform the downtown into a more vibrant area.
She highlighted the town's purchase of three blighted properties on East Main Street, two of which will be knocked down as the town prepares to build a future town square along the Peconic Riverfront.
Key to re-envisioning the downtown, she said, were the hiring of J. Petrocelli Development as the master developer for the town square and the selection in February of master developers for the Transit Oriented Development project at the train station area along Railroad Avenue.
“These two projects will require significant public-private partnerships in order to be successful. Downtown Riverhead is truly in the midst of a transformative and reimagining stage,” Aguiar said.
Aguiar also cited the town’s decision earlier this year to transfer the title of 1,600 developable acres at the Enterprise Park at Calverton property to the town’s Industrial Development Agency. The move is expected to help speed the stalled $40 million land sale.
With the deal expected to generate millions of dollars for the town's school, ambulance and fire districts, Aguiar said she would recommend to the town board using $10 million to “lower our property taxes for our residents, along with further increasing our Police Department personnel.”
The supervisor also addressed plans to assist residents at 64 homes in Manorville who have been dealing with high contamination levels of PFOS and PFOA chemicals in their private water wells. Pointing to the $3.5 million the town was awarded in March from the federal omnibus spending bill to connect residents to public water, Aguiar said the town intends on working together with the Suffolk County Water Authority to bring clean drinking water to those residents.
Aguiar also spotlighted the town’s hiring of an additional Spanish-speaking officer to assist with rental housing inspections and code complaint investigations.
“I am excited about the prospects of Riverhead’s future, and I am committed to working tirelessly, to make our mutual goals a reality. Our residents deserve nothing less,” Aguiar said at the end of her address.