Feb 26, 2017

Learning from Patchogue: Can Riverhead achieve its ‘sister’ town’s success?

Mayor Paul Pontieri’s pride in the bustling Village of Patchogue is evident as he strolls along Main Street, stopping to pick up a stray plastic bag littering the sidewalk, point out the newest restaurant that’s just opened, or chat with the constituents who stop him to say hello.

It was noontime on Presidents Day and shoppers walked along the street, the restaurants were full and Pontieri was clearly delighted.

“I love it,” Pontieri said. “You walk downtown now, there’s a nice vibe, a lot of energy.”

A village official since 1986, Pontieri served first as a trustee and was elected mayor in April 2004, nearly 13 years ago. He’s seen the village undergo a complete transformation, one that Riverhead Town officials have been longing to see in their downtown district.

“Patchogue has always been Riverhead’s sister town,” Supervisor Sean Walter said.

“Riverhead is very much like Patchogue,” the mayor agreed.

Riverhead Town officials are looking to the village as an example of downtown revitalization that they’d like to replicate.