Monday, June 21, 2010

Reservoir Plan Foes Get Big Ally by Domenick Rafter - Queens Tribune

The Parks Department’s planned renovation of the former Ridgewood Reservoir may be on life support after local activists opposed to the plan got a powerful ally, City Comptroller John Liu.

Some activists, including a member of Community Board 5, have come out against a plan to renovate the site of the defunct reservoir. Though no plans have been finalized, the renovations could include athletic fields and new parkland. The reservoir, which became inactive in 1989, has since become a natural swampland and many locals want to keep it that way. They met with Liu last week, asking him to freeze contracts awarded in relation to the renovation of the site, which Liu hinted he might do.

“We’re working to figure out a way to make sure the project addresses the concerns, and meets the needs of the community,” Liu said. “Even in a city like New York, there are many opportunities to preserve natural environments.”

The Parks Department renovations would include the removal of dozens of decades-old trees and a century old fence, according to Community Board 5’s Parks Committee.

The Ridgewood Reservoir sits between Ridgewood, Glendale and Cypress Hills, Brooklyn right on the border of Queens and Brooklyn just south of the Jackie Robinson Parkway. It was constructed in 1856 and was used for 133 years as a location to store the back-up water supply for Brooklyn and Queens.

Since closing, the 58-acre site has become a natural marshland teeming with wildlife.