Downtown Riverhead's Grangebel Park during the Oktoberfest event last month. Photo: Alek Lewis

Two lighting enhancement projects in Downtown Riverhead will see a combined $93,000 in Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization grant funds awarded to the Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association.

Lighting in the alley between the Suffolk Theater and the Woolworth building and lighting in Grangebel Park will be upgraded and enhanced, Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said yesterday. The total cost of the project is $50,000.

The BIDMA was awarded a $25,000 matching grant for the alleyway lighting project. The grant will be matched by $20,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funding and $5,000 from the Business Improvement District Management Association, Riverhead Community Development Director Dawn Thomas said.

The electrical system and light fixtures in Grangebel Park will be upgraded with the help of a $68,000 grant from the county to the BIDMA. The total cost of the project is $98,000. The town will add $16,000 in CDBG funds and the BIDMA will contribute $14,000, according to a press release from the supervisor’s office.

The updated and upgraded electrical system will allow the town to better utilize the park for events like “Reflextions,” Aguiar said.

“New and brighter LED lighting will also make the park safer and more energy efficient,” she said.

The new lighting in the theater alley will be “a significant safety and aesthetic upgrade over the current lighting which is poor and not capable of satisfactorily lighting the alleyway,” the supervisor said.

“Ensuring public safety during the evening is a priority for the Town Board,” Aguiar said.

The supervisor commended the Community Development Department and the Business Improvement District for obtaining and administering the grants, which she said will benefit the town’s residents and visitors. She also expressed the town’s appreciation for the “continued strong support” of Riverhead’s downtown revitalization efforts.

The grants announced yesterday were part of the Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization Program funding phases 18 and 19.

The county legislature on Oct. 5 appropriated $500,000 in Downtown Revitalization Program funds based on recommendations of the county’s Downtown Citizens Advisory Panel.

The panel ranked the applications according to a merit-based scoring system which includes points for their ability to leverage additional funds, the economic impact of the project, reasonable expectation of completion, and whether the project is an integral part of the overall improvement of the associated downtown, Suffolk County Presiding Officer Rob Calarco said.

Other awards made in rounds 18 and 19 include:

$45,000 to the North Fork Chamber of Commerce for improvement to the parking areas and walkability improvements in the Town of Southold;

$85,642 to the Southampton Chamber of Commerce for pedestrian infrastructure improvements in the Village of Southampton;

$27,528 to Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce for the design, fabrication and installation of a new archway at the Main Street entrance to Roe Walkway leading to the promenade to the arts district;

$64,041 to the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce for park improvements in the Village of Port Jefferson.

“These critical dollars empower our communities to complete projects that will strengthen our downtowns and generate increased economic output,” Calarco said.

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