A view of the L.I. Sound from the existing Iron Pier Beach playground. Photo: Alek Lewis

Riverhead Town is refurbishing and renaming a playground at Iron Pier Beach in the name of the late Aquebogue Elementary School teacher Keri Lynn Stromski.

The new “Keri Lynn Stromski Memorial Playground” will be located off Pier Avenue in Northville and will include a new playground, a bench and a sign honoring the location. 

Stromski died at age 48 on April 6 after a four-and-a-half year battle with breast cancer. She was diagnosed with stage 4 disease in November 2016 and became a vocal advocate for more funding for research into treatment of metastatic breast cancers, publishing a blog and posting almost daily on social media about treatments, clinical trials and living with the disease. 

“The entire Stromski-Kubetz family has such a large presence here in our town and Keri’s recent death left a huge void in so many lives,” Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said during a work session Thursday.

Councilmembers Kenneth Rothwell and Catherine Kent, who were tasked with spearheading the project, said they are working with Recreation Department Superintendent Ray Coyne on the new playground equipment. The equipment is expected to be installed this summer.

“I thought a playground would be a nice thing to dedicate to Keri because she did work with young children and she was a very active person,” said Kent, who knew Stromski from when they were both elementary school teachers.

“Keri was someone that truly loved our town and loved our school district, and she was certainly a real cheerleader for Riverhead. So it’s really very fitting that we do something for Keri,” she said.

Although the details aren’t finalized, the bench is expected to include a dedication in Stromski’s honor and will be positioned so that those sitting on the bench will be looking across the playground at the water, Rothwell said.

Kent and Rothwell said that they involved Stromski’s family to help with the town’s memorial. Stromski had lived near Iron Pier Beach and it was very important to her, her husband Robert Stromski said.

“Growing up as a child she spent many, many summers out on the Sound and on those beaches,” Stromski said. “And having that park named after her is a wonderful tribute to a wonderful, wonderful woman.”

“During the last four years going through all of this, we would always make a point to go to that beach on New Year’s Day and grab rocks, and then we will put inspirational sayings on those rocks,” Stromski said. “So we feel there’s a lot of ties to that beach and that park, and we were honored that the town allowed us the opportunity to have that park named after my wife.”

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Alek Lewis
Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.