In a recent opinion piece, the Riverhead Town Supervisor indicated her frustration of attempting to secure a movie theater in Riverhead. I am glad to hear that the supervisor is “willing to meet with movie theater representatives.” However, in order to succeed with this initiative, we need a concerted effort rather than simply agreeing to meet with potential business developers. Perhaps the supervisor can start by telling us what happened to the company which was interested in developing a movie theater when she took office. What kind of marketing strategy is she currently employing? Does she fully understand our demographics?
The supervisor asserted, “I say that the companies I spoke with told me that the demographics of our town were not yet where they wanted them to be in order to open a movie theater in Riverhead now.” Unfortunately, our current supervisor does not understand the demographics are already in place. The demographics also support Tanger Outlets and the entire Route 58 corridor. I ask, would Tanger have elected to locate in our town if Riverhead did not have the demographics and infrastructure in place? The response is unequivocally no. Furthermore, the supervisor may want to look at the 2014 Community Development Peconic River Corridor BOA study, which specifically indicated the demographics and infrastructure are in place.
Quite disturbing is a statement our supervisor made at the town board meeting last Tuesday. Our supervisor urged a movie theater supporter to submit the petitions he acquired to theater chains in an effort to show the public’s interest in bringing a movie theater to Riverhead.
In response to the supervisor’s assertion, we need a leader who is capable of securing appropriate businesses and one who has the demographic knowledge to procure a movie theater in Riverhead. Our supervisor should have vision to coach and cohesively lead our town’s efforts, not the other way around.
Furthermore, in a report in the RiverheadLOCAL at a listening tour on Feb. 14, our supervisor stated, “there is a rumor of a movie theater in this town coming to Riverhead and now is not the time to get one.” However, in a passionate opinion column four months later, the supervisor adamantly denies opposing procuring a movie theater.
The average theater-goer is between 12 and 39 years of age. Individuals who are able to drive in this age group do not mind driving to Ronkonkoma or Stony Brook for an elevated viewing experience. Considering the population of Riverhead township and the surrounding areas, the numbers indisputably support the use of a movie theater. Unfortunately, the supervisor’s lack of demographic knowledge has hindered our town from moving forward. We need a supervisor who has the aptitude and ability to make informed, progressive decisions.
Lastly, to the 3,100 people who signed the petition in support of a movie theater, you deserve to be heard. You also deserve to know what efforts are being set forward to attract a movie theater. However, it is quite apparent the s’s best and conflicting efforts are counterproductive to champion this initiative forward.
Yvette Aguiar is the Republican candidate for town supervisor. She lives in Riverhead.
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