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Town to turn former day care center at Stotzky Park into intergenerational recreation and community center

The Riverhead Country Day School on Columbus Avenue, at Stotzky Park, closed a year ago. File photo: Peter Blasl

Riverhead Town will repurpose the former Riverhead Country Day School at Stotzky Park as a town recreation facility and community center.

A majority of the town board agreed today to use the building on Columbus Avenue for programs and services administered by the newly merged parks, recreation and senior resources departments.

Recreation superintendent Ray Coyne and senior citizens services department head Judy Doll laid out plans for the facility as an intergenerational, youth, recreation and community center. The town will run programs for seniors and youth there, including adult and child drop-off care, respite care services for caregivers, an after-school program for kids and recreation programming. The town currently relies on Riverhead Central School District facilities to house some of its programs, Coyne said.

The building will also be available for civic association and community meetings, Coyne said. This will better serve residents from the west end of town, who now have to travel to Jamesport to use the community center.

Riverhead Country Day School operated out of the town-owned facility for more than 23 years before closing its doors and vacating the premises Dec. 31.  See prior story

The building fits perfectly with the town’s “Vision Stotzky Park,” Coyne said.

In addition to the programs and services the town will run there, it can also use the kitchen in the building “to operate a top quality concession stand at our flagship park,” according to a document Coyne and Doll distributed at today’s town board work session.

Supervisor Sean Walter and council members James Wooten and Tim Hubbard supported the plans. Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said she opposed the idea because she believes the cash-strapped town should rent the building. Councilman John Dunleavy was absent.

East End Christian Academy, currently based in Manorville, has asked the town to consider leasing the building to it for use as a private non-denominational Christian school. Christine Meade, board treasurer of East End Christian Academy pitched the idea to the town board at its last regular meeting. Today, another board member of the school, John Powell, renewed the request, but was told the town would move forward with the recreation/senior departments’ plans.

Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter and editor, an attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including a “writer of the year” award from the N.Y. Press Association in 2015. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website. Email Denise.