North Fork, Riverside get State Regional Economic Development Council grants

The state’s Regional Economic Development Council has announced the awarding of 12 grants to projects in the North Fork and vicinity, ranging from a Maritime Trail and children’s museum in Riverside, to construction trades training in Eastern Suffolk BOCES, to regional aquifer protection through land acquisitions by Peconic Land Trust in Riverhead, Southold and Shelter Island towns.

The Long Island REDC consists of 30 members from Suffolk and Nassau counties, including former Greenport Mayor Dave Kapell, Paulette Satur of Satur Farms in Cutchogue and Doon Gibbs, the director of Brookhaven National Laboratory. The Council annually awards grants toward the end of the year.

Deputy Governor Kathy Hochul is its chairperson and Kevin Law of the Long Island Association is vice-chair.

The Long Island region is one of 10 regional economic development councils statewide.

A breakdown of the awards affecting the towns of Riverhead and Southold and the hamlets of Riverside and Flanders in Southampton towns are as follows:

• Children’s Museum of the East End expansion into Riverside

This project received three separate grants. The biggest was an Arts, Communications, Finance Industries and Property Services grant of $302,400 to support the construction of a new 4,000-square-foot building in Riverside to house education programs and interactive exhibits. CMEE currently has a museum in Bridgehampton.

The second grant is a $150,000 Economic Development Fund grant for that same project, along with a $75,000 Arts Workforce Investment grant for workforce development and training at the CMEE Riverside site.

All together, that project received a total of $527,400 in grants.

• Riverside Trail

Southampton Town’s proposal to design and build a Riverside Trail between Flanders Road and the Peconic River received $387,484 in grants from the state. The trail has a $2.6 million cost estimate, which will be divided into two phases, officials said. It will include the construction of about 2,400 linear feet of walking paths and boardwalks, as well as removal of invasive species and a kayak launch area.

• Peconic Land Trust

The non-profit organization received a $3 million grant for Phase II of its water protection program that acquires land within special groundwater protection areas near public water supply wellheads in the towns of Riverhead, Southold and Shelter Island, within the Peconic Estuary.

• Wine Country

Winship Media and the Long Island Wine Council received a $150,000 grant to create a series of educational tourism activities to drive new direct sales opportunities for Long Island wineries and to help reinforce the state’s efforts to promote its craft beverage industry.

• East End Tourism Alliance

The EETA received a $140,625 grant for seasonal promotional themes in order  to have a “more consistent regional branding impact on potential visitors.” The program will emphasize “shoulder seasons” and non-peak tourism periods, according to the state.

• Eastern Suffolk BOCES

A construction trades training grant of $99,999 was awarded to Eastern Suffolk BOCES to provide career training opportunities in construction trades, including electrical, plumbing, HVAC and facilities maintenance trades.

• East End Arts

A $60,000 grant to East End Arts was awarded to hire a full-time developmental director to design and implement the annual fundraising strategies of EEA.

• Riverhead Town

A $25,000 grant was awarded to the town to develop a plan for a transit-oriented development near the Riverhead train station on Railroad Avenue.

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