Riverside Rediscovered's Peconic Avenue office is transformed into an education space for kids so CMEE can hold classes there. Photo: Maria Piedrabuena

More than $750,000 in state funding for two significant projects in the hamlet of Riverside was announced today by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in Albany.

The Children’s Museum of the East End was awarded more than $450,000 to support the construction of a new building at Ludlam Park to house education programs and interactive exhibits.

The Town of Southampton will receive $387,484 for the design and development of the Riverside Maritime Trail Park on county-owned parkland along the south shore of the Peconic River.

Cuomo today announced more than $763 million in economic and community development funding statewide through Round VIII of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative.

Community leaders were ecstatic about the news.

“This is the best Christmas ever. I’m beyond excited,” said Siris Barrios of Riverside Rediscovered. “I have no words. What a great way to end the year.”

That sentiment was echoed by Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association president Ron Fisher and past president Vince Taldone, who has spearheaded the grant application process for the organization.

“It’s remarkable,” said Fisher. “This is a really good day for Riverside. We’re incredibly excited to get this kind of investment from the Economic Development Council.”

Barrios said both projects are “going to make a difference in the life and well-being of the community.” Both represent things that residents really want, according to community surveys conducted by Riverside Rediscovered: a safe place for educational and fun activities and access to the riverfront, she said.

“So at a community level, this is really, really exciting.”

Children’s Museum of the East End president Steve Long said the grant award was “tremendous news… that helps make our dream of a satellite location in Riverside a reality.” 

The state funding is “a big help” for the riverfront park, Southampton Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone said.

“It’s a major project, a substantial cost over time,” Zappone said. “This will get us deep into the engineering and bid documents phase.”

He said the funding will underwrite the cost of engineered design documents “and give us a solid foundation for future grant applications” to seek support for construction.

FRNCA funded the grant writer for the application to fund the construction of a building at Ludlam Park for the Children’s Museum.

Taldone said FRNCA and Riverside Rediscovered have been able to leverage a $10,000 donation by the developer of an office building currently under construction on the traffic circle to obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money. FRNCA used the donation to hire grant writer Chris Kempner, former Riverhead Community Development Agency administrator.

“Each application she’s written has gotten funded,” Taldone said. “We’re very happy.”

The organization was also recently awarded a $50,000 environmental justice grant for the maritime trail park project.

“Things are coming together for Riverside,” Taldone said.

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