Gurney's Inn
July 05, 2006

Riverhead Town Considers Amusement Park Proposal

A glorified Adventure Land, equivalent to the popular Splish-Splash, is being proposed for Riverhead Town-owned land at Enterprise Park in Calverton.

According to deputy town attorney Chris Kent, the town and developers are negotiating a deal for the purchase of 70 acres of land, which will be developed with roller coasters and carousels. And so far, said Kent, the town is happy with the numbers.

With negotiations still underway, the attorney declined to give further details, only submitting that the town is close to reaching an agreement with the developers who are Long Island natives.

The theme-park proposal is one of several such propositions to cross the town board's table in recent years.

In 2003, FRP Development Corp. proposed the construction of a 300-acre park, complete with a go-cart track and a 200-room hotel/ conference center, which would have included an indoor water park. They were willing to pay the town $50,000 an acre.

The proposal was met with strong community criticism because of its potential traffic impacts. The deal ultimately died after it was discovered FRP did not have the money necessary to purchase the land from the town or construct its theme park. The disclosure was made during a qualified and eligible sponsorship hearing, which all developers must undergo before they can purchase town-owned land.

If the current deal goes through, the park could abut a senior citizen housing complex, another development the town is negotiating to construct.

Pulte Homes has offered Riverhead $91 million for 775 acres to construct a 464-unit 'Del Webb' active adult community area for people ages 55 and older. To sweeten the deal, Pulte is prepared to add a $1 million, two-bay ambulance barn and a town recreation center on 125 acres that will be donated back to the town. The company will also contribute land for open space. Approximately 280 acres are under consideration.

The Pulte project will require a zone change of the property from recreational to residential. The theme park proposal, on the other hand, would not, since the land in question is already zoned for that use.

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