The Ridgewood Reservoir is an area on the Queens Brooklyn border by Highland Park that the Parks Department and the City would like to develop into recreational space. The problem, however, is that it would mean acres of trees would have to be cut down.
How ironic that would be! The City, in conjunction with the Parks Department wants to plant one million trees throughout the city for health and ecological benefits. Yet in this pristine area, they are willing to sacrifice hundreds of trees to put down astro turf and the like. In the meantime, there are many ball fields and other recreational spaces around the city that already exist and are in need of improvement. Some of those areas are even near the Ridgewood Reservoir. Shouldn’t some of the money that would be allocated for this project be better used to repair what already exists?
It is not only the trees at stake at the Ridgewood Reservoir site. The area is an oasis for birds. Over one hundred types of migratory birds have been identified there. Many of those nest there as well. It is an ideal habitat for birds and other types of wildlife.
The Ridgewood Reservoir was used as a backup water supply for Queens and Brooklyn into the 1960’s. It was made up of three basins. Two of those three water areas subsequently became reforested in the typical way that land changes over time in nature. That process is known as succession and this particular site is on its way to becoming a full fledged Eastern Forest. Why interrupt this urban forest by cutting down trees?
My understanding is that the City and Parks department are planning on spending anywhere from 46 million to 55 million dollars on this project, depending on the sources. That money should be spend on improving existing recreational areas and purchasing additional parcels of land to be used for open space and park uses.
In Queens, many concerned citizens urge the purchase of several parcels including the St. Saviour’s church property in Maspeth, the Klein Farm in Fresh Meadows and the Iris Hill wooded property in Bellerose. Other parcels are available as well and all of this land should be used for green areas for the public.
According to the Mayor, one million more residents are expected in the City by 2030. It is difficult to figure where everyone will live given the overdevelopment, infrastructure, and flooding problems that we are already facing today. Where will everyone go to relax and enjoy nature? Where will our children play? It is time to plan ahead and think of the future. We must buy open space in the city to meet those needs and we also have to preserve land that is environmentally sensitive like the Ridgewood Reservoir area.