Riverhead Town Supervisor Yvette Aguiar delivers her final state of...

Riverhead Town Supervisor Yvette Aguiar delivers her final state of the town address at the Riverhead Town Hall on Monday. Credit: Tom Lambui

Riverhead Town Supervisor Yvette Aguiar delivered her final state of the town speech Monday from the newly minted Town Hall. The modern $20 million, three-story building puts town government in the heart of downtown, where officials are breathing new life into long-blighted areas.

Downtown revitalization and the new Town Hall were among the accomplishments touted by Aguiar in her speech, which also focused on economic development and improved public safety during her four years as supervisor. Monday’s address was a farewell for Aguiar, 64, a two-term Republican who became the first Latina elected to lead the town of nearly 36,000, in 2019.

“The foundation has been laid for Riverhead’s bright future,” Aguiar said.

The supervisor highlighted an “unprecedented” amount of grant funding the town received, including a $10 million state grant that’s helping fund the town square on the Peconic River. The town also received a $2 million grant for a new parking garage downtown and $350,000 to improve the town’s Meals on Wheels program.

“It’s no longer talk,” Aguiar said of the long-term goal to give Main Street a reboot. “We are well on our way.”

Riverhead’s future was front and center as the supervisor also gave an update on the town’s comprehensive plan. Another public workshop will be held Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall, and the plan is expected to be completed in spring 2024.

In May, Aguiar enacted an emergency order barring New York City from relocating migrants to Riverhead amid a humanitarian crisis that’s seen tens of thousands of people housed in emergency shelters.

Aguiar stood by her decision Monday, despite criticism from Latino advocates that the move could spread divisive rhetoric.

The city sued Riverhead and other municipalities over the emergency orders, but has since dropped the case.

Under Aguiar's tenure, the town board nullified a contract to sell 1,644 acres at Enterprise Park at Calverton to developer Calverton Aviation & Technology after the town Industrial Development Agency denied an application for financial aid. 

Aguiar said she was “confident the next administration will be able to find solutions that are beneficial to the residents, including STEM learning and employment opportunities.”

More recreation options, including drag-racing events, an indoor surf park and new $2.3 million ice rink in Calverton spurred economic interest and put Riverhead on the map, Aguiar said, pointing out more than two dozen businesses that opened across Riverhead during her tenure.

Aguiar said she helped improve the town’s finances and earned an upgraded Moody’s bond rating from AA3 to AA2, the first upgrade in more than a decade, which lets the town borrow money at lower interest rates. She also said she prioritized public safety by steadily hiring police officers, staffing the department at its highest level with 100 officers.

Aguiar will be succeeded by councilman Tim Hubbard, who said the town is “absolutely on the right track” because of Aguiar’s efforts. “It makes it a lot easier to hit the ground running,” Hubbard said Monday.

He hopes to keep the “momentum” going while also focusing on new projects, including turning the former Town Hall into a new Justice Court, and expanding the headquarters for the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

“There’s a lot of things we haven’t tackled,” he said.

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