Featured Story

With new $460K grant, East End to get a  rooftop planetarium

The Long Island Science Center has received a large grant for its proposed rooftop planetarium and other features in downtown Riverhead. 

The grant is for $460,000 and comes from the New York State Council for the Arts Capital Project Funds. It had previously received $1.12 million in grants from the State Economic Development Fund in 2021 and $775,000 in state grants in 2020. 

“It’s a huge step forward for us getting the planetarium done,” said Long Island Science Center executive director Cailin Kaller. 

The project still needs additional funds and the science center will continue to apply for funding, including a portion of the $10 million State Downtown Revitalization Initiative funds Riverhead Town was awarded this year. It’s seeking $1.5 million from the Town Square project.

The 100-seat, rooftop planetarium is expected to be the focal point of the proposed building planned at the former Swezey’s in downtown Riverhead.

The science center, currently housed at Tanger Outlet Center, will have education and entertainment programs for families and adults, including astronomy shows, documentaries and lectures.

“We are super excited, because it’s really something we need,” Ms. Kaller said. “There’s nothing else close by where you can go and visit a planetarium.”

The LISC purchased the vacant former Swezey’s in February 2020 with plans to renovate the 24,000-square-foot building. 

It’s a way of getting people opportunities to be creative,” Ms. Kaller said.

The LISC also will have exhibits on the history of Long Island innovation, she said.