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Local News September 27, 2012  RSS feed

DEC REVISITING THE RESERVOIR

State Reviewing Ridgewood Park Site Again
by Sam Goldman

Plans for ballfields in the third basin of the Ridgewood Reservoir, long opposed by local residents and community groups, may be fading away, according to members of Community Board 5’s Parks Committee.

At a meeting held Monday, Sept. 24 at P.S. 68 in Glendale, Parks Committee Chairperson Steve Fiedler claimed that the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is reviewing the site, citing a conversation with staff members from State Sen. Joseph Addabbo’s office.

Addabbo, in a phone interview with the Times Newsweekly, confirmed that the DEC, at his insistence, is going back to review a study of the site three years ago that stated that two out of the three basins that make up the reservoir meet state wetlands requirements.

“Protecting two-thirds of the wetland really doesn’t make sense,” he stated.

“That’s exactly what the city wants,” Fiedler stated at the Monday meeting, noting that the third basin is where the city had hoped to build ballfields. “I don’t believe it.”

“If it’s a point or two under the qualification for a wetland, it still has to be a wetland,” said Fiedler.

In addition, according to Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office is beginning to listen to resident requests that all three basins are left untouched.

“I had a meeting with him and people from Ridgewood and Maspeth,” he noted. “He said to me, ‘Gary, you still want that to be a nature preserve right?’ I said, ‘yes I do.’ He said ‘okay.’ So I think he is favorable toward that idea.”

The current project “is moving along,” Fiedler noted, with handicapped accessible ramps, lighting and fencing being installed, but work on the staircases at Jamaica Avenue has yet to begin.

He also expressed concern that the 15-foot lights can be knocked out with a bat if someone were to climb the four-foot fence.