State historic preservation officials visit Riverhead to discuss town square plan


State historic preservation officials traveled to the historic Main Street district of Riverhead yesterday to inspect one of the buildings the town intends to demolish for the creation of its planned town square .

They met with city officials and MP Jodi Giglio, who organized the visit.

“It was a very productive meeting,” Giglio said yesterday afternoon.

Supervisor Yvette Aguiar, Community Development Administrator Dawn Thomas, Monument Preservation Committee Chairman Richard Wines and City Community Development and Engineering Department staff met with visitors from the State Department of Parks , recreation and historical preservation.

Giglio said Assistant Historic Preservation Commissioner Daniel McKay and State Historic Preservation Office staff Beth Cumming and Robyn Sedgwick came for the visit, which the Riverhead Community Development Office coordinated.

MP Jodi Giglio and Supervisor Yvette Aguiar on Main Street yesterday for a meeting with state historic preservation officials. Courtesy Photo: Town of Riverhead / Joseph Maiorana

The building at 117 E. Main St. was designated a “contributory resource” when the Historic Main Street was listed on the National Register in 2012. The building was a contributory resource because of its facade and front windows. , according to Wines. It is one of three buildings the city recently purchased from Riverhead Enterprises with the intention of demolishing two.

The city is now seeking to have the building removed as a contributing asset. But the State Historic Preservation Office has to agree, so that the federal and state grants the city hopes to get are not jeopardized.

“When the neighborhood was created, the building still had the original facade and the windows are typical of 1950s architecture,” Wines told RiverheadLOCAL earlier this month. “The facade has since fallen and has been replaced,” he said. “The rest is in pretty bad shape. Wines said he fully supports the removal of this building for the town square.

Thomas, who took the lead on the town square project, said state officials “fully understand the issues” and “appreciate our concept and think we can work together.” The state wants to ensure that the historic character of Main Street is incorporated into the town square, Thomas said.

“They’re worried about having a big gap there,” Thomas said. “There doesn’t have to be a building there. You can build a siege wall or maybe an iron arch, ”she said. similar to the one a few steps east. The idea, she said, is to “maintain the visual plane created by buildings.”

A spokesperson for historic preservation staff from the State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation had “a productive conversation with city officials about ways the city could refine the project to mitigate the impacts. »Of the demolition on the historic district.

“We look forward to formally reviewing the final plans,” Public Information Officer Dan Keefe said this afternoon.

Thomas said that the design of the town square is at a very preliminary stage and the town can certainly incorporate the thoughts of state officials. The city has previously discussed the idea with Barry Long of Urban Design Associates, who is working with the city to develop a plan for the town square.

“We were very happy to show them around,” Thomas said.

Giglio said she was grateful for the visit. “They were knowledgeable, clear and gave a great idea of ​​the importance of streetscapes in a historic community,” she said.

“The representatives from the Town of Riverhead were receptive and understood the ideas presented,” said Giglio. “We have a clear path to follow. ”

Editor’s Note: This article was edited after its initial publication to add a comment from a spokesperson for the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation provided after press time.

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