The town’s three-mile recreation trail at the Calverton Enterprise Park will more than double in length with the completion of an extension that’s scheduled to get underway on Monday.
Officials today held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the four-mile extension of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Trail, a multi-purpose paved athletic trail planned to eventually be extended around the entire perimeter of the enterprise park.
The town began work on the trail in 2008 with the aid of state grant funding, including $100,000 in grant funding from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, completing an approximate 3.2 mile portion of the trail. The Town of Riverhead has since secured $200,000 in Suffolk County funding provided through the work of Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski and a $500,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Fund.
The non-motorized trail around the enterprise park will be constructed over an abandoned gravel vehicular path cleared and developed in the 1950s by the Grumman Corporation as a perimeter security road. It is hoped that a pending grant application for $150,000 in state funding can be used to complete the trail.
Riverhead Town Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith, council members Jodi Giglio and Catherine Kent, and former council members George Bartunek and John Dunleavy were joined for the groundbreaking by members of the Riverhead Alternative Transportation Committee, Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo, County Legislator Al Krupski, Riverhead Highway Superintendent George Woodson and deputy director for the Long Island region of State Parks Brian Foley.
“Twelve years ago there was a vision to create a trail around EPCAL for everybody to enjoy,” Jens-Smith said, thanking them for their perseverance in seeing it through, “most of all the Alternative Transportation Committee — they’ve worked long and hard on this project. We owe them a debt of gratitude for seeing this through for our community.”
“This represents such a great collaboration between all levels of government,” Krupski said. “Congratulations to Riverhead Town. You really did such a good job here.”
“Our government can, should and does play a positive role in the lives of people and the lives of communities,” said Foley. “Today is a tangible example of that very fact.”
Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, the Riverhead Town Board liaison to the Alternative Transportation Committee, said she was “extremely appreciative to see the multipurpose trail move towards completion.” She expressed her appreciation for the “diligent efforts of Senator Kenneth LaValle and Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo for advocating for the EPF funding and previous state funding that will allow for the expansion of this trail.” Giglio also acknowledged Krupski for providing a $200,000 match in county funds towards the overall project that provided a critical match with no direct cost to Riverhead taxpayers.
Giglio said the Alternative Transportation Committee has worked tirelessly to secure funding from state and county government, as well as applying for permits from the State Department of Environmental Conservation over the last seven years.
“Biking, walking and running are no-cost, family-friendly activities,” Giglio said. “The trail will significantly benefit Riverhead families by providing a safe outlet to participate in healthy activities, while increasing users’ appreciation of the natural environment in the scenic Pine Barrens and provide a sense of place.”