Riverhead Skate Park first opened more than a decade ago, after a group of teenagers at a town board meeting pleaded with local officials for a safe place to skate. File photo: Peter Blasl

Riverhead will have its skate park — and pickleball courts too.

Town board members gave a thumbs-up yesterday to a revised capital improvement plan pitched by Riverhead Recreation Superintendent Ray Coyne.

After spending $50,000 on replacing ramps and boards, the prospect of spending another $28,000 to $72,000 “just didn’t sit well with me” — especially because of all the other things that need to be done at parks around town, Coyne told the board during its weekly work session.

After meeting with Councilman Tim Hubbard and the town engineers, Coyne said, he decided to “consolidate the skate park to one level and remove the remaining boards that are damaged.”

Artie Johnsen of Calverton, the man credited with bringing the pickleball craze to Riverhead, competes in the 3rd Annual Fall Classic Pickleball Tournament in October 2015 in Stotzky Park. File photo: Denise Civiletti
Artie Johnsen of Calverton, the man credited with bringing the pickleball craze to Riverhead, competes in the 3rd Annual Fall Classic Pickleball Tournament in October 2015 in Stotzky Park. File photo: Denise Civiletti

The concept freed up space that will allow the town to space for permanent pickleball courts. Pickleball has been growing “exponentially” among seniors, Coyne said, and people have been clamoring for courts. The recreation department has been putting up the pickleball nets inside the hockey rink, so people have a place to play.

The skate park will be completed and open “within a week or so,” Coyne said.

2013 0810 stop the violence basketball
Stop the Violence basketball tournament, now in its 10th year, draws teams and hundreds of spectators to the Horton Avenue basketball court, which needs resurfacing. RiverheadLOCAL file photo

The money that would have been spent to make additional repairs at the skate park can now be spent on other needed projects, Coyne said.

Once such project is resurfacing the Horton Avenue basketball courts, he said.

“Residents have complained for a few years that the basketball court is falling apart,” Coyne said.

Coyne said work on the court will begin immediately and will be completed before the 10th Annual Stop the Violence basketball tournament, which is scheduled for Aug. 13 and 14. The tournament draws teams and spectators from all over the tri-state area.

The hockey rink at Stotzky also needs new surface, Coyne said. He is looking to use a product called “Street Ice” and will be seeking price quotes for that job.

The recreation department is also moving forward with a playground for 2-4 year olds at Veterans Memorial Park in Calverton and postponing a larger, more costly playground for older children, Coyne said.

“This is much wiser,” Hubbard said. “You’re addressing four different things. I wasn’t happy with that much money being eaten up by the skate park,” the councilman said.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.