Friday, June 26, 2009

Ridgewood Reservoir Hearing in Oak Ridge by Michael Lanza - Queens Chronicle

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The final public hearing for plans to develop Ridgewood Reservoir has been scheduled for June 30 at Oak Ridge in Forest Park.

The Parks Department will present three development plans: preserving the site as a natural habitat; filling in the reservoir basins and replacing them with baseball and soccer fields; and a hybrid plan in which only one of three basins, the largest one, would be converted into a recreational sporting area.

The plans have been called into question in recent weeks after Parks officials cut funding for the project from $48.8 million to $19.8 million.

“If the reduction in funding is not restored or supplemented by another funding source, a new phasing strategy will be implemented,” Parks officials said in a statement.

Plans to raze the reservoir site and replace it with ballfields have sparked an ongoing battle between the city and preservationists.

Deactivated in 1989, the site has become a natural haven for plants, turtles, fish, frogs and more than 137 bird species — including eight rare species on the National Audubon Society’s “Watch List.”

Photo by Michael Lanza