Plans for a proposed walking trail leading to the Peconic River in Riverside took a step in the right direction this week as an advisory panel is now recommending that Suffolk County set aside a $15,000 grant to help pay for the project.
On Friday, Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman announced that the Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization Citizens Advisory Panel had recommended the grant to help cover the costs of constructing the public walking trail, which is expected to cost about $39,000 to install. If approved, the estimated 1,000-foot-long trail would cross 14 acres of waterfront land along State Route 24 in Riverside that the county purchased for $2.4 million in 2011.
Though the Suffolk County Legislature still needs to sign off on the grant, Mr. Schneiderman said he is confident that the panel of lawmakers will approve the proposal soon. The project is expected to be completed within nine months of the county securing all the necessary funding.
The Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association (FRNCA) applied for the grant earlier this summer, in conjunction with Southampton Town. Vince Taldone, the president of the community organization, said installing the walking trail is the first step in establishing a waterfront park that will attract visitors and customers from nearby Riverhead.
The proposed trail will measure 5.5 feet wide and be constructed using permeable stone, according to Mr. Schneiderman. The town is contributing $20,000 toward the effort and has also agreed to maintain the trail once it is installed. FRNCA is contributing $500 toward the project. It was not immediately clear how organizers are going to come up with the remaining funds.
“It is terrific news that the county is poised to make this grant award,” Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said in a prepared statement. “Hopefully, there is more good news to come.”
Tentative plans call for a small sitting area with two benches along the waterfront, and a bike rack to be installed near the entrance to the park on State Route 24.
The town also recently applied to New York State for a $1.1 million grant that would cover the cost of installing a pedestrian footbridge over the Peconic River, connecting Riverside with downtown Riverhead. The footbridge, if approved, would originate at the county-owned property in Riverside and most likely end near the aquarium on Main Street in Riverhead.
In September, representatives from Camp, Dresser and McKee, a consulting firm based in Massachusetts, are expected to present the results of a study that examines the cost and feasibility of installing a sewer system along the Riverside corridor that proponents say is necessary and would support economic growth in the area. Mr. Schneiderman is now estimating that the project could cost between $2 million and $3 million.
“The trail will encourage park use by providing access to the scenic Peconic River,” Mr. Schneiderman said in a statement. “It is part of a broader vision to revitalize the blighted Riverside community.”