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Photo: Peter Blasl

Citing declining enrollment, day care center at Stotzky Park closing its doors

Riverhead Country Day School, which has operated for more than 23 years at a town-owned facility at Stotzky Park is closing its doors at the end of this month.

The longtime proprietor of the school has given the town notice of her intention to vacate the premises as of Dec. 31.

“Enrollment has been declining,” said Cheryl Taormina, who bought the day care from founder Marge Bisig 15 years ago, after having worked there for eight years.

“This is very bittersweet. I’m so disheartened about having to close,” she said.

“It’s been a wonderful experience for me being able to do this in my hometown,” said Taormina, who grew up in Wading River and attended St. Isidore’s School. “I’ve had a wonderful, amazing journey and I’m very proud of what we’ve done here.”

The facility is larger than she’s been able to fill for some time, Taormina said, and she’s been losing money. It was time to call it quits.

The day care is housed in a building built by the town for that purpose in 1992. The last lease agreement — which had been the second, 10-year lease for the site — expired in 2012. The day care has been occupying the property on a month-to-month basis since then, Supervisor Sean Walter said.

The future use of the building has not yet been determined, Walter said. The town will explore using the building, located on Columbus Avenue at Stotzky Park, for recreation programs, he said. The recreation department leases space from the school district for many of its programs and the facility could be useful for that purpose. The supervisor said he will ask the recreation department and the town’s recreation advisory committee to weigh in.

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