Downtown revitalization continues in Riverhead, with a focus on new housing in the business district.
The New York State Office of Community Renewal awarded the Town of Riverhead a $250,000 New York Main Street grant to continue the town’s downtown revitalization efforts, according to Town Supervisor Sean Walter.
The grant will focus on providing housing above existing retail, as well as other commercial building improvements within the downtown Business Improvement District.
The New York Main Street funding facilitates community efforts aimed at Main Street or downtown revitalization by providing funds to carry out local projects that stimulate reinvestment in deteriorating, outdated and vacant properties located within mixed-use commercial districts, neighborhoods and on New York's historic Main Streets.
Walter said the grant would likely fund up to 45 residential units and at least six commercial renovations downtown.
“This New York Main Street grant will address a dire need for quality housing in and around the Riverhead area, specifically the central business district,” he said. “By creating desirable housing above existing business we will breathe new life into the downtown economy and create a walkable community. The Town of Riverhead strongly believes that this holistic approach, specifically combining commercial and residential revitalization components, is necessary to provide a much needed spark to existing economic redevelopment efforts."
Riverhead Community Development Department Director Chris Kempner said she believes the latest round of Main Street Program funding, aimed at residential units and commercial redevelopment, is a pivotal and critical step toward downtown revitalization.
“It will transform currently blighted, vacant or underdeveloped buildings into focal points in the central business district," she said.
The grant will be administered by the Community Development Department, which wrote the application. The Community Development Department administered three previous awards.
Since 2004, The New York State Main Street Program has provided funding to approximately 30 businesses within the downtown BID, with a total of $1.15 million awarded.
Projects that benefited from the funding include the Suffolk Theater, the the Riverhead Project, and Jerry & The Mermaid.
"The previous awards were extremely beneficial to BID members and have proved to be a key component of the recent Main Street resurgence,” said BID president Ray Pickersgill.
Do you think downtown Riverhead will benefit from the creation of new housing opportunities above retail? Tell us what you think in the comments section.