November 30, 2022

Developer pitches bringing indoor sports facilities and new outdoor fields to Veterans Memorial Park

Veterans Memorial Park could see development of more than an ice rink in the not-so-distant…

Veterans Memorial Park could see development of more than an ice rink in the not-so-distant future, as another company is looking to build indoor sports facilities and multipurpose outdoor fields to an undeveloped section of the Calverton municipal park.

Peter Bellard of Setauket, president and CEO of Conscience Bay Group, pitched a plan to the Town Board at today’s work session to build three multi-purpose indoor athletic buildings totaling 45,000-50,000 square feet and two professional-sized outdoor multipurpose fields.

Bellard said his company would pay the full cost of developing the new buildings and fields, which would be donated to the town. His company would then enter into an agreement with the town to operate the indoor facilities and run programs out of them, he said. The agreement would be similar to that of the one the town entered into with the Peconic Hockey Foundation to bring a proposed bubble dome ice rink to the park.

The development would be located on about six vacant acres in the northeast portion of the park, just north of where the Peconic Hockey ice rink is proposed. The indoor facilities would cater to soccer and lacrosse players and contain bathrooms and special event space for birthdays and corporate events, he said.

“Given the demographics that I’ve been looking at, and everything that goes on, obviously, the outdoor facilities are in huge demand, as we all know,” Bellard said. “And the indoor [facilities], it seems to be something that kind of stops as you get to the Huntington area, where they just don’t cater as much as you get further out east for the indoor.”

“So I think that really is something that’s needed, especially on the north and south forks, and Riverhead being, you know, so centralized, provides so much of an opportunity for all those townships, especially for Riverhead,” he added.

“It’s my understanding that this kind of thing, the skating rink, the soccer, the town has put efforts in since 2005 to get these kinds of things into Veterans Memorial Park,” said Council Member Bob Kern, who Bellard said helped him bring the proposal to the board

A plan for Veterans Memorial Park, then just known as a public park at Calverton Enterprise Park, proposes four multipurpose fields in the park at the proposed site. 

Bellard said the demand for the facilities is “exponential” and there is a need for full-sized fields, roughly 320 to 360 feet by 190 to 220-feet, for travel soccer and lacrosse programs. He said he is exploring the possibility of the indoor fields being used for pickleball at times when kids are in school.

Peter Bellard, president and CEO of Conscience Bay Group, pitches his idea for building indoor athletic buildings and outdoor multipurpose fields at Veterans Memorial Park. Photo: Alek Lewis

Recreation Superintendent Raymond Coyne, who was present at the work session, said he had just been briefed on the proposal by Kern right before the meeting. “I’m kind of learning as you guys are,” he said.

“So you’re building this for-profit. So where does the Riverhead — where does my department fit into this business model?” Coyne asked during the presentation. 

Bellard said the outdoor fields would be owned by the town and they can be used as town officials see fit. Riverhead residents would also receive free use of the indoor facilities at certain times — between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays — Bellard wrote in a letter to the board outlining his proposal.  

Bellard said he will also pay for paving and striping of the 72-space parking lot proposed as a part of the park’s new expansion, bring irrigation, soccer goals and corner flag to the outdoor fields, and also make donations to the development of the park in the future. He said he would coordinate with the town’s Park and Recreation Department on how the outdoor fields would be maintained.

“I can visualize having the fields going in the summer, like June. But the indoor I’d love to have open for the school year ‘23,” he said. 

Aguiar said Bellard has to present to the town’s Recreation Advisory Committee and consult further with Coyne, and then work with the town attorney’s office on an agreement.

Bellard said he worked as a currency option trader since 2000 and has been in the real estate business since 2010. The Conscience Bay Group was created in July 2017, according to the New York Department of State Division of Corporations.

Bellard said in an interview that he manages real estate and rents, builds and flips homes under various limited liability companies. He said he has developed resixdential, single family homes, but not commercial real estate.

Bellard said that while he hasn’t operated an athletic facility before, he knows people who have, has done research on the project for the past year-and-a-half and already has a manager lined up for the facility. 

“It’s going to be a large undertaking,” Bellard said in the interview. “It’s just something that I’ve no problem grasping or getting my hands around.”

Editors note: This article has been amended after initial publication to remove a paragraph with repetitive information.

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