Amityville and Riverhead receive $10M each for downtown revitalization projects


Amityville and Riverhead jumped a step closer to becoming thriving downtown districts thanks to a huge investment from New York state. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the two communites will each receive $10 million as the Long Island Region winners of the fifth round of the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. 

The Downtown Revitalization Initiative began in 2016 with the goal of accelerating the revitalization of downtowns and neighborhoods in all 10 state regions.

During the program’s initial four years, the state committed $400 million in downtowns that were deemed to have the potential to become hubs for redevelopment, housing diversity, and economic and job opportunities. 

For its fifth year, the program planned to invest $200 million in up to 20 additional downtowns statewide. Within each of the 10 regions, two downtowns would receive $10 million each, or one would be awarded $20 million.

Participating communities are nominated by the state’s 10 Regional Economic Development Councils based on the downtown’s determined potential for change. 

Amityville and Riverhead were the lucky winners on Long Island.

“Ensuring local communities have the resources they need to thrive is critical to New York’s economic resurgence,” Hochul said in her announcement this month. “Amityville and Riverhead both play important roles in the overall economic health of Long Island, and I have no doubt that with this funding, they won’t only recover from the impacts of COVID-19, but will flourish in the long term.”

Here’s a breakdown of what the grants mean for Amityville and Riverhead: 

  • Amityville 
    • The hamlet wants to become a premiere destination on the Long Island’s South Shore, offering up its historic charm and waterfront areas. 
    • It has the potential to produce key elements of a flourishing downtown, such as compactibility, walkability and a transit-friendly environment. 
    • Amityville is in close proximity to a train station and there are multiple ongoing and completed projects, such as pedestrian/bike lanes and several residential and mixed-used developments. 
    • The downtown area wants to revitalize its train station and its surrounding area, increase pedestrian/bike access and expand green space.
  • Riverhead
    • Riverhead remains committed to becoming a compact, diverse, mixed-use and vibrant neighborhood with the Peconic River waterfront being its focal point. 
    • Ongoing and completed projects in Riverhead include the new aquarium, the reopening of the Suffolk Theater and multiple housing projects. 
    • To continue to serve as a recreational, shopping and tourist destination, Riverhead plans utilize its waterfront advantage, improve pedestrian/bike access and strengthen economic activity for residents and visitors. 

Amityville and Riverhead join Westbury, Hicksville, Central Islip and Baldwin, which were the Long Island Region’s winners in the first four DRI rounds, respectively.

The process starts with developing a Strategic Investment Plan to revitalize the two downtowns with up to $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant. 

Plans are expected to be completed this year. 

“In Suffolk, our downtowns are the heart of our communities, and over the last few years, both Riverhead and Amityville have worked incredibly hard to reinvigorate their business districts and bring new life into their communities,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said. “Today’s awards by Gov. Hochul reinforce our ongoing revitalization efforts and will allow these two communities to push forward with truly transformative projects.”

Continue to follow for updates on Amityville and Riverhead’s downtown revitalization efforts. 

Top: Downtown Amityville. Photo by Nick Esposito.