Sunday, July 5, 2009

Parks to Draft New Plans After Reservoir Hearings by Michael Lanza - Queens Chronicle

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It’s back to the drawing board at the Ridgewood Reservoir.

Parks officials announced on Tuesday they will draft three new plans for developing the reservoir based on community feedback. The announcement came during the final public hearing on three initial plans.

While much of the meeting focused on presenting previous plans, officials unveiled an unpleasant surprise for reservoir advocates.

Officials announced the results of a survey showing a majority of people favoring ballfields on the site. The circumstances of the poll were not made clear to attendees, many of whom were skeptical of the results.

The proposal to raze the reservoir site and replace it with ballfields has sparked an ongoing battle between the city and preservationists.

The initial three 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.

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.”