“Think global, act local” is the slogan that ‘iloveriverhead’ strives to follow. The main focus of this organization is to bring the community together as a means of improving life in downtown Riverhead. This fairly new group, founded in 2009 by Nancy Swett, uses grassroots networking both online and offline to their full capabilities. Offline, the campaign holds regular meetings to bring the members of the group together and to help brainstorm ideas to improve the area. The multi-media campaign includes a website and popular social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. In addition, the group distributes iloveriverhead bumper stickers as a way for people to show off their Riverhead pride.
“We are working hard to revive downtown Riverhead in order for it to become a hub for all of Riverhead. Even though it is a work in progress, we would love for people to take advantage of the restaurants that overlook the river,” said Swett. “We want people to give Riverhead a new chance.”
The impetus to organize came when residents and businesses felt there wasn’t enough action being taken to draw people into downtown Riverhead. “We try to accentuate the positive,” said Swett.
And one of those positives is the brand-new Long Island Exhibition Center and Hyatt Place East End at Atlantis Marine World. The folks at Marine World decided that with a new exhibit center, a Sea Star Grand Ballroom on its way, and the Treasure Cove Resort Marina that a name change was in order. Gone is Atlantis Marine World Aquarium, replaced by the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center (www.LongIslandAquarium.com).
“Eleven years ago, when we first opened, we envisioned that Atlantis would help promote economic impact for the town of Riverhead and Long Island, not only bringing new jobs, but also creating a true tourist destination,” says Jim Bissett, co-owner. “Now, with the openings of Long Island Exhibition Center, the Hyatt Place East End hotel, and the additions, we hope to inspire visitors to stay—and stay longer.”
The new $24 million three-prong expansion allows visitors and businesses alike to jump on in and test the waters with a 28,000 square-foot Sea Star Grand Ballroom, which can accommodate up to 450 guests, a 70,000-square-foot 100-room Hyatt Place hotel, and the Long Island Exhibition Center.
“Where else on a Long Island Main Street do you see an internationally-recognized hotel?” says co-owner Joe Petrocelli. “Additionally, there is no indoor exotic butterfly and bird exhibit anywhere in this region that is open year-round,” he continues, referencing the Exhibition Center’s first exhibit that will be changed every few years for variation.
“This is a memorable moment for Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center and Long Island as a whole,” says Bryan DeLuca, executive director. “This project is sure to be the next ‘wow!’ to help bring more people to Long Island’s East End and to the downtown Riverhead area,” he added.
With a lot of activities and things to do downtown during this time of year, iloveriverhead hopes that people put aside their preconceived notions about their town and go check it out. They are even holding an online photo contest through the Riverhead Free Library through Labor Day. You can get more details by visiting their website as www.iloveriverhead.com. [/expand]