State Awards $16.7 Million in Economic Development Grants on South Fork

Children dancing to live music at the Children's Museum of the East End.

Municipalities, nonprofits and private companies on the South Fork will receive almost $16.7 million in economic development grants that were awarded by Governor Andrew Cuomo through the Regional Economic Development Councils on Tuesday.

Long Island was awarded a total of $68.3 million for 103 projects across Nassau and Suffolk counties. More than $763 million in economic and community development funding was awarded state-wide this year through this initiative, which was established in 2011. Since its inception, more than $6.1 billion has been awarded to more than 7,300 projects throughout New York State.

Locally, the towns of East Hampton, Shelter Island and Southampton were all awarded funding, as were nonprofits including the Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center, the Children’s Museum of the East End, the East End Arts & Humanities Council, Inc., East End Tourism Alliance, and the Peconic Land Trust.

“Over the last eight years, we have implemented a vision to move New York State’s economy forward by allowing communities to make strategic investments to help grow their local economies and reenergize and develop their unique regions,” said Governor Cuomo on Tuesday. “Regional-based economic development is vital for maintaining New York’s thriving, prosperous economy. I congratulate all the winners of this year’s REDC awards and look forward to working together to build a stronger New York for generations to come.”

In Bridgehampton, two nonprofits earned funding that will allow them to expand their missions and physical space.

The Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center on the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike was awarded $300,000 to build an addition that will double the size of its 1,500-square-foot administrative building and attach its main classroom to the building. The addition, according to the center’s executive director Bonnie Cannon, is estimated to cost $1.5 million and $2 million and will allow the center to add a computer lab, art room, teen room and storage space. According to Ms. Cannon, prior to receiving the grant, the Center had raised roughly $500,000 toward the expansion project. Ms. Cannon said on Tuesday the Center hopes to break ground in 2019.

“It is wonderful news,” she said. “This was the best Christmas gift and for a phenomenal 2018 at the Center, this is a great way to end the year.”

Ms. Cannon gave special thanks to Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., who she noted has been a staunch supporter of the nonprofit for well over a decade. “He has been steadfast in his support for us and we could not be more grateful,” she said. “I know he is in Albany now, but we are going to have a big party when he gets back into town.”

Another Bridgehampton nonprofit dedicated to children, the Children’s Museum of the East End, also received substantial funding on Tuesday. Most will be used to allow the organization to expand its reach with a new Riverside location.

CMEE won three grants on Tuesday. The first, for $302,400, is earmarked to support the construction of a new Children’s Museum@Riverside, a 4,000-square-foot building the nonprofit has been developing with the aid of Southampton Town, the Flanders, Riverside & Northampton Community Association and Renaissance Downtown’s Rediscover Riverside initiative. CMEE also received a grant for an additional $150,000 on Tuesday to support that project and another $75,000 to support a fellowship program that will train artists as arts educators. According to Stephen Long, president of CMEE, those educators will be sent to the new Riverside campus as well as other communities on the East End.

“When we were developing our strategic plan, we did a market analysis and realized we were only serving one-third of the families that live in eastern Long Island and by establishing the satellite museum in Riverside and having a centralized location, it will enable us to reach virtually all families on the East End and even points west,” said Mr. Long on Tuesday. “Those families will now have access to a central location, where children can learn through play. There is a lot more work to be done though.”

In a press release issued late Tuesday, Southampton Town Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone, said, “we are very appreciative that the Governor, NYSCA and the LIREDC share our enthusiasm for the project and the value that it will bring to this long underserved community.”

The Town of Southampton also won $387,484 in funding Tuesday for the design and construction of its Riverside Maritime Trail — another project that is a part of the town’s Riverside Revitalization Action Plan. The town was also given $410,000 to rebuild a culvert under Noyac Road at North Sea Road to restore proper water flow through Alewife Creek, which will allow for the spawn migration of alewife.

Other REDC grants awarded for South Fork recipients this year include $94,500 for BNB Bank to provide existing employees training; $60,000 for the East End Arts & Humanities Council, Inc. to hire a full time development director; $140,625 for the East End Tourism Alliance to develop its “Seasons of Reasons” tourism promotions; $99,999 for Eastern Suffolk BOCES to offer career training in construction trades including electrical, plumbing HVAC and facilities maintenance; $125,000 for the Excelsior Fish Corp to turn The Haskell’s Seafood facility in East Quogue into a fully functioning seafood processing facility, and $100,000 for Manna Fish Farms, Inc. to upgrade the Shinnecock Fish Dock waterfront to provide better processing and packing facilities for local fishermen.

The Peconic Land Trust was awarded $3 million to beginning Phase II of its source water protection program that acquires land within ground water protection areas or within close proximity to wetlands. Phase II prioritizes land acquisition in the towns of Riverhead, Southold and Shelter Island.

Sag Harbor Industries will receive $49,063 to train existing employees seeking additional certification in soldering and the Spur Innovation Center in Southampton will receive $500,000 to develop its spaces for co-working on the East End.

Municipalities on the South Fork also found support from the council. Suffolk County was awarded $5 million to provide connections for nearly 7,500 un-sewered parcels along four river corridors on the south shore. The Town of East Hampton will receive $400,000 for its municipal hatchery and nursery facilities, which will be consolidated through the grant funding into one site adjacent to the town’s existing nursery system. The Town of Shelter Island received $113,370 to replace a restroom at Crescent Beach and make it ADA-compliant, also utilizing an advanced waste water treatment system; and the Village of Westhampton Beach was granted $5 million to construct sanitary collection and conveyance infrastructure within its Main Street business district and connect that infrastructure to the wastewater treatment facility at Gabreski Airport. That project aims to reduce nitrogen loading to groundwater and surrounding water bodies.

“These economic development grants represent a major commitment by the State of New York to take the lead in creating jobs and improving the economy,” said Assemblyman Thiele on Tuesday. “I am pleased that Long Island was chosen for such substantial funding and that the businesses and communities of my district will benefit.”