Millions in Economic Development Grants

The Spur Innovation Center got a $500,000 economic development grant. Above, an architectural rendering of the new workspace and event hub under construction in Southampton. Studio2 FLA

Two Bridgehampton facilities that serve the needs of children, the Peconic Land Trust, a couple of local seafood facilities, and the Towns of East Hampton, Southampton, and Shelter Island were among those awarded grants last month by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo through the state’s Regional Economic Development Council.

More than $763 million in economic and community development funding was awarded statewide, with Long Island receiving $68.3 million for 103 projects across Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

The Peconic Land Trust will receive $3 million, one of the largest awards to a Long Island group, to help fund the second phase of its watershed protection program, which has prioritized land acquisition in the Towns of Shelter Island, Riverhead, and Southold. The goal is to safeguard groundwater recharge areas, watersheds, and drinking water for public supply wells.

The East Hampton Town shellfish hatchery won a $400,000 grant to consolidate its nursery and municipal facilities at one site on Three Mile Harbor, near the East Hampton Town Marine Patrol building. The grant will help with the town’s planned $4.75 million project to build a new aquaculture facility. As part of that plan, the town board had already approved in August spending up to $2.1 million to purchase a 1.1-acre property on Gann Road.

Manna Fish Farms in Southampton will receive $100,000 to upgrade the Shinnecock Fish Dock waterfront to provide better processing and packaging facilities for local fishermen. 

In Bridgehampton, the Children’s Museum of the East End won three grants totaling $527,400 and another Bridgehampton nonprofit, the Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreational Center, was awarded $300,000.

Bonnie Cannon, executive director of the Child Care and Recreational Center, said its new funding will be devoted to the center’s ongoing capital improvement campaign to raise approximately $2 million to expand and upgrade the center’s facility on the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike and add amenities such as meeting and tutoring areas, a computer lab, art room, a teen area, and storage space.

“It’s very exciting and much, much needed,” Ms. Cannon said. “We’re still raising money and taking donations. Among the other things we’ll have that we don’t have now is an area for teens to gather, more quiet space for study, a reception area. And we’ll have a common room where we’ll be able to do even more community-oriented things.”

Just down the street, CMEE is also planning a significant expansion in the Riverhead area. Two of its three grants — one for $302,400, and another  for $150,000 — will help pay for the construction of the Children’s Museum@Riverside, a new, 4,000-square-foot facility that will offer educational programs, interactive exhibits, and improved access to arts and culture for an area the museum identified as an “underserved” community. CMEE, which has been developing the project with help from the Town of Southampton and several community groups in Flanders and Riverside, plans to use its remaining $75,000 grant to train artists and educators to help deliver programs to the community.

The Spur Innovation Center, a workspace sharing and entrepreneur­ship group in Southampton, received $500,000. Ashley Heather, the founder of the Spur, has said the money will be used to add more staff, cover operational costs, and help pay for the new workspace-event hub that’s being built at 630 Hampton Road.

The East End Tourism Alliance plans to devote the $140,625 it received to support its Seasons of Reasons promotions, which are targeted at generating tourism in the nonpeak times of the year.

Other Regional Economic Development Council grants to local recipients included $5 million to Suffolk County to provide expanded public sewage connections on the south shore of the South Fork; $113,370 to the Town of Shelter Island to replace a restroom at Crescent Beach; $49,063 to Sag Harbor Industries to help existing employees obtain additional certification in soldering, and $410,000 to the Town of Southampton 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, an important fish species to the local ecosystem.