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04/15/17 6:00am
04/15/2017 6:00 AM

Part of the more than $11 million cleanup effort underway at the Enterprise Park at Calverton could take up to 30 years to complete, according to the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, which is charged with remediating pollution caused by the U.S. Navy when it leased the site to the Grumman Corporation more than 20 years ago.

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Featured Story
04/05/17 1:31pm
04/05/2017 1:31 PM

The Riverhead Town Board on Tuesday unanimously authorized the signing of a letter of intent to sell most of the remaining town-owned land at the Enterprise Park at Calverton, including both runways, to Luminati Aerospace LLC for $40 million.

Luminati has had a presence at EPCAL since 2015, when it purchased the former SkyDive Long Island property for $3.4 million. More recently, it leased space in a portion of the former Hangar 6 building, which also houses PODS and Mivila Foods. READ

11/16/14 8:00am
11/16/2014 8:00 AM

Gray shuts out the sun as another winter begins to descend upon the Enterprise Park at Calverton, known as EPCAL.

For 20 years now, the former Grumman property — once a fertile crescent of ideas and action, the place that defended freedom in time of danger and placed a man on the moon — has sat cold and dormant. For 20 years, EPCAL has been long on talk and short on results. (more…)

04/17/14 3:00pm
04/17/2014 3:00 PM
Traces of chemicals harmful to humans and wildlife have been found in the Peconic River in the area of the Connecticut Avenue boat launch in Calverton. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Traces of chemicals harmful to humans and wildlife have been found in the Peconic River in the area of the Connecticut Avenue boat launch in Calverton. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

A multimillion-dollar chemical treatment facility currently pumping toxic contaminated groundwater from the Enterprise Park at Calverton — left over from years of pollution at the former Grumman site — is meeting its goals thus far, officials said last week. And while the large plume is not traveling underneath the Peconic River, as feared when it was first reported five years ago, it will take several more years of treatment before it is cleaned up.  (more…)

03/31/14 1:44pm
03/31/2014 1:44 PM
NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | An aerial view of Calverton Enterprise Park, looking south

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | An aerial view of Calverton Enterprise Park, looking south

Riverhead Town landed a hefty $5 million out of New York State’s $137.9 billion 2014-15 budget to upgrade and build new sewer infrastructure at the Enterprise Park at Calverton.

The budget is expected to be voted on before the end of the fiscal year today.

The town already was given about $1.3 million late last year from the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council to build out sewers at EPCAL, which will need to be expanded and upgraded if the town gets the development it is hoping to attract.

State Sen. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) said on Monday “this was a priority because job creation is critically important to our region. Development at EPCAL will benefit the entire eastern end of Brookhaven and eastern Long Island. When we start putting ratables there, that will help stabilize real property taxes.”

Town officials have said it could cost over $23 million to do all the sewer work that needs to be done on site. A first phase would include moving discharge for groundwater away from McKay Lake, which should cost nearly $7 million.

Between the $5 million coming through next fiscal year’s budget, and the $1.3 million from the LIREDC, Supervisor Sean Walter said phase one of a sewer upgrade should be pretty much paid for. A connection fee to be paid by a 97,000-square foot drug research center could close the gap, he said.

Mr. Walter said on Monday he was “extremely pleased with Senator LaValle,” also recognizing Assemblymen Fred Thiele and Anthony Palumbo.

“Everybody who doubted that the state would partner with us — I’m happy to prove them wrong,” said the supervisor.

Monday’s announcement was the second big announcement for moving development ahead at EPCAL in as many years in Albany: in fact, last June, the state legislature OK’d a fast-track bill which will hasten the approval process for projects at EPCAL, which was gifted to the Town of Riverhead in the late 1990s.

12/11/13 9:38pm
12/11/2013 9:38 PM
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Sidor Farms in Cutchogue has received $50,000 from the state to expand its potato chip manufacturing operation.

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Sidor Farms in Cutchogue has received $50,000 from the state to expand its potato chip manufacturing operation.

The latest round of the New York Regional Economic Development Council awards were announced Wednesday and more than $4 million is coming directly to the North Fork.

A total of $715.9 million in state funds and tax credits were awarded to the 10 regional councils across New York. Long Island is receiving $83 million for a total of 98 projects, the most of any region in the state.

Nine of those projects are on the North Fork.

Below is a list of each of the local projects, the name of the applicant, the state’s description of the project and the amount awarded.

Projects are listed in descending order based on the total number of dollars received.

Town of Riverhead Community Development Agency

Project: EPCAL Sewer Treatment Upgrade

Funding: $1.34 million

Description: Upgrade of Calverton sewage treatment plant from secondary to tertiary treatment, which will provide both economic development and environmental benefits to this regionally significant project site with immediate potential for job creation benefit.

EBDK Research at Calverton 

Project: CARE NY (Calverton Addiction Research and Education Research Center)

Funding: $1 million

Description: CARE NY (Calverton Addiction Research Education), a substance addiction Research Center and a separate Recovery Center, will construct an addiction research and education center at the Calverton Enterprise Park to complement an adjacent proposed treatment center.

Peconic Landing

Project: Special Needs and Acute Rehabilitation Center

Funding: $800,000

Description: This $44 million project is the expansion of dementia care and rehabilitation facility in Greenport.

Long Island Wine Council

Project: Access East End

Funding: $285,000

Description: This program is a multimodal transportation and marketing initiative to generate visitor traffic from the NY metro area, east coast, national and international source markets during off-season and midweek periods. By opening the East End of Long Island to new customers from the NY metro area and other east coast population centers, we expect that this program will draw thousands of new visitors to the region.

Skydive Long Island 

Project: Altitude Express Indoor Skydiving Facility

Funding: $250,000

Description: Altitude Express Inc. will build an indoor skydiving attraction on Long Island which will operate year round. The company anticipates this attraction will draw another 50,000-100,000 visitors to the area annually.

East End Arts Humanities Council

Project: Long Island Winterfest

Funding: $162,000

Description: East End Arts is requesting grant funds to support an expanded marketing strategy and to hire a festival coordinator to support the implementation of a five-year strategic plan toward a goal of growth and sustainability of LIWinterfest: Live on the Vine, an award winning agricultural tourism program designed to generate tourism traffic to the East End of Long Island during the slowest months.

East End Arts Humanities Council

Project: Winterfest Expansion Project

Funding: $99,408

Description: East End Arts will expand marketing strategies and hire a festival coordinator to improve growth and sustainability of its LI Winterfest — an award winning agri-cultural tourism program. The six-week program of live music performances at wineries, theaters and area hotels, along with special promotions at restaurants, hotels, transportation companies and area businesses generates tourism traffic to East End of Long Island during the off-season months.

Sidor Farms 

Project: Business Expansion

Funding: $50,000

Description:  The Cutchogue company will expand its potato chip manufacturing operation and tour facility including a museum on the History of Long Island Potato Farming.

Ultra Motion 

Project: Advanced Manufacturing Skills Program

Funding: $30,000

Description: Ultra Motion LLC of Cutchogue will train six workers in IPC (Institute for Printed Circuits) J-STD-001D Soldering Certification, computer-aided design, inventory control, and supply chain management.

[email protected]

11/15/13 1:58pm
11/15/2013 1:58 PM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Attorney Vincent Messina (right) speaks to the Riverhead ZBA with researcher

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Attorney Vincent Messina (right) speaks to the Riverhead ZBA with researcher Steven Dewey on behalf of a proposed addiction facility in Calverton.

Supporters of a multi-million dollar drug research and treatment facility being proposed for private property at the Enterprise Park at Calverton spoke in support of the project before the Riverhead Board of Zoning Appeals Thursday night.

The group of researchers, doctors, and scientists that attended the meeting said the center offers a unique opportunity to not only treat those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, but also develop more effective methods of treatment faster.

Among those supporters was Steven Dewey, who said he’s studied the science of addiction for more than three decades.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | A concept map of the facility shows the layout of where patients would sleep on site.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | A concept map of the facility shows the layout of where patients would sleep on site.

“What you have before you is kind of a lifelong dream,” Mr. Dewey said. “If I could design a center, after 30 years of experience, I’d design a center just like this.”

The Calverton Addiction Research Education: New York, or CARE: NY, facility would feature a 34-acre campus and include 41,000 square feet of housing, 20,000 square feet of offices and 15,000 square feet of indoor recreation like a gymnasium and a pool, project officials said.

It’s proposed for property currently owned by Jan Burman, just north of River Road and just west of Connecticut Avenue.

The facility would have a maximum of 130 beds for volunteers looking to get treatment, said attorney Vincent Messina of Central Islip, who spoke on behalf of the center’s founders. Patients would stay at the facility for up to 120 days and would pay for treatment privately, though Mr. Messina said new federal regulations may allow insurance to cover the costs.

Mr. Messina assured the board that the center would not be part of the criminal justice system, saying the goal of the facility is to research and make breakthroughs in the treatment of addiction — not serve as a way for convicts to get reduced sentences.

The facility would cost roughly $10 million to build, and Mr. Messina told the board the project was expected to lose money in its first few years. He said the facility would not use the nonprofit status of any companies operating in the center to get tax breaks.

Mr. Messina promised that if a nonprofit were required by law to get a tax exemption, the owners of the center would pay the difference in price to ensure that no tax revenues are lost.

The attorney told the board that 64 percent of the facility was already covered under “as of right” use in the zoning code.

The center would need zoning exemptions made mainly for the housing component of the research facility.

Mr. Dewey told the board that more children and young adults will die on Long Island this year from opiate abuse than from alcohol abuse.

ZBA chairman Fred McLaughlin acknowledged the need for more addiction treatment.

“The opiates are just out of control,” he said.

Andrew Drazan, the facility’s founder and CEO, told the board there is “so much more to learn” in the field of addiction treatment.

Mr. Drazan said he was inspired to build the facility by his own experiences at a young age; his mother died due to addiction when he was a child, he previously told the News-Review.

He told the board that there has been a shift in the approach to addiction and addiction treatment.

“[This is] no longer looked at as moral failing,” he said. “It’s considered a disease and it’s going to be treated as such.”

The ZBA adjourned the center’s request to the Dec. 12 meeting.

[email protected]

11/05/13 7:49am
11/05/2013 7:49 AM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | (L-R) IDA Exectu

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | (L-R) IDA executive director Tracy Stark-James takes notes as Skydive Long Island owner Ray Maynard and Barbara Schiano speak to the IDA board Monday night.

Plans to build a two-story tall indoor skydiving tunnel are a little bit closer to taking flight.

The proposal — a new building to house the unique attraction at Skydive Long Island in the Enterprise Park at Calverton — will be subject to a public hearing over requested tax incentives in December, after members of Riverhead’s Industrial Development Agency expressed support for the proposal, with one member of the board calling the plan a “home run.”

COURTESY PHOTO | People skydiving in a vertical wind tunnel.

COURTESY PHOTO | People skydiving in a wind tunnel.

“That’s a really great project,” said IDA executive director Tracy Stark-James at the board’s meeting Monday night in Riverhead Town Hall. “It’s truly a regional draw.”

Skydive Long Island owner Ray Maynard and Barbara Schiano, his wife, told the board their planned attraction would not only allow skydivers to practice jumps in a safe environment, but would also draw tens of thousands more into town during the typical skydiving off-season to experience the indoor wind tunnel — without having to get in a plane.

“There are many people who just go to these indoor wind tunnels to experience freefall who never go skydiving,” Ms. Schiano said.

Skydive Long Island would build a four-story tall building to house the 18-feet high, 14.5-foot wide vertical wind tunnel, which would use giant fans to lift customers into the air.

“It’s going to bring a lot more people to the town,” Mr. Maynard said, adding that the nearest indoor skydiving attractions were in New Hampshire and North Carolina.

Mr. Maynard also said that, while tunnels are used by professional skydivers to train, the general public could buy time inside the tunnel with an instructor in 2-minute blocks. Up to six experienced skydivers could use the tunnel for practicing formation diving.

The project — estimated to cost between $4.5 million to $5 million — would also feature glass running windows along the side of the tunnel, allowing onlookers to see in. It would take up to a year to build the structure, Ms. Schiano said.

Skydive Long Island — which has been in operation out of Calverton since 2000 — is asking for three types of tax incentives: a sales tax exemption, a mortgage tax exemption and a deal on its real property taxes, Ms. Stark-James said.

The sales tax exemption would apply to all construction material purchases, from building supplies to lighting fixtures for the new building.

Skydive Long Island has already secured partial funding for the project through the U.S. Small Business Administraiton, which doesn’t require mortgage tax to be paid. The local mortgage recording tax exemption would apply to the remainder not covered under the SBA and would eliminate the usual 1.05 percent tax.

The final incentive is to reduce the real property tax assessment, Ms. Stark-James said. The IDA’s standard property tax abatement reduces the assessed value of the new additions to the property by 50 percent. The property would gain an additional 5 percent on its assessed value each year until it hit the full 100 percent of its value, Ms. Stark-James said.

For example, if a property were worth $50,000 and another $10,000 in assessed value were added, the property’s abated assessed value would be $55,000 in the first year of the abatement, increasing by 5 percent each year until it reached the full $60,000.

While the 50 percent initial abatement is the typical IDA offer, Ms. Stark-James said Skydive Long Island was planning to request more of an abatement from the IDA. While board members didn’t reveal whether they would support the incentives, all expressed admiration for Mr. Maynard, a longtime local business owner.

The proposed incentives will be open for public comment at the IDA’s next meeting in early December. In the meantime, Ms. Schiano said the company is working on getting the necessary zoning permits to build the new attraction.

“This is going to be another iconic attraction [for Riverhead],” she said. “There’s nothing like it in the area.”

[email protected]

10/26/13 12:00pm
10/26/2013 12:00 PM

R1024_Bike_TG_C.jpg

They say you never forget how to ride a bike, but I kinda did. At least the gear-shifting part and the keeping air in the tires part.

A few months ago, I dropped my car off at an auto repair shop, intending to use my brother’s bike — built sometime in the early 1980s — to get back home. As it turned out, the bike’s tires were flat and I found it didn’t fit in the car’s trunk, so that idea went nowhere.

Instead, I walked home from the repair shop … seven miles. That was enough walking for me. The next day, I bought a bike.

It’s a used bike, with a little switch that enables me to easily take off the front tire so the bike will fit in my car. This way, I can drive the bike to places more conducive to riding than where I live. Now that I had the bike, I figured the Tour de France couldn’t be far off — so long as I could drive there.

For the first week or so, I drove my bike to a lot of different places. Sure, I didn’t get out and actually sit on the bike and pedal, but it was there if I wanted it — or needed it.

Then one day, I decided I would bike over the Brooklyn Bridge, which I’ve been told has a bike lane running across it. So the bike and I went on a ride to Brooklyn, in my car. We took a few wrong turns, but eventually found the bridge (which, I suppose, isn’t that hard to find). Then we went looking for a place to park the car. I looked all over Brooklyn, reluctantly went into a parking garage that had only valet parking, backed into something, panicked and quickly exited the parking lot. I then spent time looking for a roadside parking space with no success. After a while, I just gave up and went home.

But I hadn’t given up entirely on being a biker.

On the last day before my next vacation, in September, I had to write a story on the completion of federally funded $3.2 million bike path from Calverton to Jamesport. As part of the story, I tried to call some local bike enthusiasts for comment. None of the bikers I contacted seemed too excited about this bike path, which basically consists of some widened roads and signage indicating that bikes go on the side of the road and the cars stay in the middle. Duh!

What the bikers were excited about was the bike path that runs around the Enterprise Park at Calverton. The bike enthusiasts see this as a potential major draw to the area, since there aren’t many places on Long Island, apparently, where people can ride around a nine-mile path. I had noticed a lot of people using it one Saturday, so on my next vacation, I packed the bike in the car, drove it to Calverton and tried out the EPCAL bike path.

Turns out, it’s pretty cool. Unlike riding on the road, it’s all inside the fence, so you can’t get hit by a car, unless you have really, really bad luck and get hit by one crossing the entrance road off Route 25. And, you can go as fast as you want, because it’s a relative straight path and has some long, but not steep, hills.

It’s also pretty scenic. You start at the dog park and ballfields area, then you get to ride around the back of the two fighter jets on display at the Grumman Memorial Park and then you go all the way around the Calverton Industries sand mine, which is a lot bigger than it appears from the road. Eventually the path disappears into woods and the paved part of the trail stops. That’s where I turned around and went back. My tally? EPCAL bike path: 1, Brooklyn Bridge bike path: 0.

The Town Board has applied for a grant to finish the EPCAL path so it goes completely around the EPCAL site, but that was a split vote, with three in support and two against. It remains to be seen if the town will get the grant or otherwise finish paving the path.

In the meantime, my bike and I drove to some other places, like the Country Fair, where I parked at Town Hall and rode to the fair, since it was tough finding parking.

That’s technically using the bike to avoid exercise rather than to get exercise, but it’s a start. I now figure I should be in the Tour de France in a year or so.

Tim Gannon is a longtime reporter for the Riverhead News-Review.

He can be reached at (631) 293-3200, ext. 242, or [email protected]