Riverhead lands $5M in state budget for EPCAL sewers

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.