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Happy Trails To You! Riverside Maritime Trail Park Closer To Reality As DEC Awards Only State Grant On Long Island To Southampton Town To Combat Invasive Species

Artist Rendering provided Courtesy of Southampton Town.

Development of the Riverside Maritime Trail Park is one step closer to reality as the Town of Southampton has recently been chosen to receive a $75,000 grant to combat invasive species that may hinder construction of the Park. Southampton is the only municipality on Long Island to receive this grant awarded by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

According to Town of Southampton Planning Director, David Wilcox, "This grant comes at a time when the Town is ready to award the bid for final design plans to build the Park, and will allow us to focus on the invasive species component and wetlands restoration prior to making a final design."

Although rather ominous sounding - invasive species simply refers to the weeds, ramble and other invasive growths that may impede construction of the Park. Such species will be eradicated with measured efforts and be replaced with native plants that compliment and protect the surrounding environment.

Conceptual designs were presented to the Town Board in 2018 that included "A multi-phased construction plan proposal to incorporate a pedestrian walking trail, fishing platforms and other amenities along the Peconic River for passive recreational activities and shoreline/wetland restoration in a safe environment accessible to all ages and abilities." It also follows two State DEC Environmental Justice grants of $50,000 each awarded to FRNCA, the Flanders, Riverside, Northampton Community Association, to help design and construct the park. In addition, the Town received two Local Water Revitalization Plan grants and an Empire State Development Grant totaling $285,000."

Wilcox continued, "We have bids on designs so we can begin interviews and finalize hopefully in January-February 2020. Bids for construction can then take place with work could start possibly in the spring of 2021."

Further, the development of the Riverside Maritime Trail Park will "facilitate shoreline/wetland restoration which was a cornerstone feature of the Riverside Revitalization Action Plan (RRAP) and the Riverside Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) Plan. The Park will facilitate a re-orientation of land use and community life toward the River, providing a linkage between a new downtown Riverside and the River and functioning as an anchor for new mixed use development and increased economic activity resulting in brownfield cleanup, blight mitigation and crime reduction."

Pursuant to previously agreed upon conditions, "Programs, amenities and passive recreational activities that promote healthy living through design and enhance the livability of the community can begin to address the social isolation and other health issues that may be revealed in the Community Participatory Public Health Survey, which is part of the planning process. The RRAP and the Riverside Overlay District envision and provide ultimately for a continuous, approximately 1.6-mile Trail from the east side of Peconic Avenue, eastward to Town owned land on the north side of NYS RT - 24 at the easterly end of the Riverside Overlay District, encompassing the County parkland as well as Town and privately owned properties that make up the balance of the river front."

The grant offers an opportunity to accelerate plans for a Park where we an all enjoy happy trails.

Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.

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