Walter: YMCA Could Still Be Coming To EPCAL

Supervisor said the plan is not dead yet.

A future YMCA could still be sited at Enterprise Park at Calverton.

At Tuesday's town board meeting, Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said the plan for a new YMCA at the location could still move forward.

"Reports of its demise are greatly exaggerrated," Walter said. "The YMCA might still be coming to EPCAL."

In belief that plans for a new YMCA to be located at Enterprise Park at Calverton  the project could be on hold.

Walter said after a new president and CEO, Anne Brigis, took over the reins at the YMCA of Long Island, plans changed -- and the YMCA was considering the possibility of building the new YMCA on school district property.

Brigis confirmed other alternatives were being considered. "We're exploring all our options at this point," she said.

But on Tuesday, Walter said while corporate representatives of YMCA of Long Island were weighing their options, local YMCA representative "are still working toward" the idea of building a YMCA at EPCAL. "They're still pushing for EPCAL," he said.

In November, when word spread that the YMCA of Long Island was considering school district property, Walter said he had directed Riverhead attorney Frank Isler to stop working on the lease agreement for the YMCA property at EPCAL. "We've expended substantial sums of money already," Walter said.

Councilman John Dunleavy said after ten years of work on the initiative, "We're back to zero."

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said the board has done everything they can do to facilitate the project.

Councilman Jim Wooten said in his opinion, a location "in the heart of Riverhead" was a more desirable location for the YMCA.

At its most recent board of education meeting, Riverhead Central School Superintendent Nancy Carney said the YMCA of Long Island had approached her with the idea of building a YMCA on school property.

"We just had one exploratory, preliminary meeting," Carney said. Representatives of the YMCA asked if they could meet with her, Carney said.

"They wanted to know what we thought of having the YMCA on our main campus -- on school property."

Carney said according to the preliminary discussion, the YMCA would be located on School Street, at the back of the property, across the street from the cemetery and BOCES.

Carney said she told YMCA representatives that she was "very open-minded" and if the concept was one they were interested in, they could bring the proposal back before the board of education.

The proposal could mean a "reconfiguration of the entire campus," Carney said. Whether or not the BOE decides to move the bus barn, the YMCA, she said, "would fit."

But as of now, she said, the concept "is just an idea they brought to us." YMCA representatives have not yet gotten back to the district for further dialogue, she said.

Ultimately, Carney said, whether or not to green light the YMCA on school property would be a BOE decision.

BOE president Ann Cotten-DeGrasse said Carney did come to her and said if the idea merited discussion, she'd bring the matter to the board of education. 

"We have not discussed it," Cotten-DeGrasse said, adding that somehow, the news got out before the BOE was asked to consider the plan. "No one on this board approached the YMCA," Cotten-DeGrasse said.

For months, the "Save Main Road" group protested initial plans to site the YMCA in Aquebogue.

Representatives of the Peconic YMCA did not immediately return a call for comment.

What location do you think would be best for a new YMCA -- EPCAL or on Riverhead school district property? Tell us what you think in the comments section.


Ken January 26, 2013 at 02:59 PM
the idea of a YMCA in downtown is the best possibility for a variety of reasons, i.e. public transportation, revive downtown, etc. I believe a discussion should be held (if it hasn't been) with Jim Dreeben/Peconic Paddler as his property is for sale and has been for long time.


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