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Denise Civilleti

Downtown revitalization progress is "scant" and "what little progress that's been made should be credited to business leaders and not town government, according to Riverhead Democratic supervisor candidate Angela DeVito and her running mates for town board seats, Bill Bianchi and Millie Thomas.

The Democrats held a news conference Tuesday afternoon in front of the now-vacant Red Collection store on East Main Street.

DeVito said the opening of the Riverhead Project, re-opening of the Suffolk Theater and the promotional activities of the Business Improvement District “is the work of entrepreneurial business leaders and not Sean Walter or the lackluster Town Board.”

Progress reinvigorating downtown has been "pitiful," DeVito said. High vacancy rates, continued crime, drug sales and prostitution in the downtown district make people fearful to come downtown, she said. She acknowledged that the perception is probably worse than reality but said she doubts the public "has all the information about what the reality is."

“Sean Walter and his political pals would have voters believe that they’ve made downtown a thriving metropolis,” DeVito said. “Just look at it - downtown is a few bright spots of light in a sea of blight and the Walter administration is boasting about progress that a few positive-minded business leaders are responsible for."