For his part, the parks commissioner, Adrian Benepe, said that although the city has allocated $50 million to improve Highland Park and incorporate the Ridgewood Reservoir into it, construction and design plans are not final. “The bulldozers aren’t warming up,” he said.
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But Mr. Benepe did say that “some small portion” of the Ridgewood Reservoir area, probably about 30 percent, will be used for recreation. “Any time you build a park, especially in an area that is overgrown, you have to remove some trees,” he said.
Mr. Benepe also emphasized what he described as his “moral obligation” to provide New Yorkers with space for recreation, especially children who suffer from a lack of exercise, and the need to balance the needs of a community.
“People care very deeply about parks,” Mr. Benepe said. “And there are many opinions about what they should look like.”
God/Mother Nature has already provided the space, Adrian, and is counting on you not to mess it up. Highland Park currently has playgrounds, ball fields, tennis courts, etc. in horrible disrepair. Shouldn't your "moral obligation" as parks commissioner be to fix them up and not tear down an air-purifying forest in a city where children have high rates of asthma? And how is 30% of the reservoir considered to be a "small portion"? Jogging paths around each basin would be an inexpensive way to keep the natural setting and provide for exercise. Fix them up, install lighting, and that can constitute your "small percentage for active recreation". And save us a hell of a lot of money, to boot. Explain how children who aren't into exercising are going to be motivated to use ballfields just because you build them. No one can make kids who would rather play video games play baseball instead. Or is forced exercise another hidden part of Bloomberg's 2030 agenda?