Let me first begin by saying that I oppose the Department of Parks and Recreation’s plans to convert the historic landmark into ballfields. Rather, I am a strong advocate to preserve the unique and important ecosystems that have developed in Ridgewood Reservoir. Ridgewood Reservoir and Highland Park total approximately 142.5 acres of woodlands, lakes, wetlands, and picnic areas and is located on the Brooklyn/Queens Border within Highland Park. The Ridgewood Reservoir is an important area for resident, migratory and nesting birds and can serve as a place for environmental study, bird watching or simply just a place to enjoy the wonderful fruits that mother nature has to offer. In addition, the existing topography of Highland Park is not only permissible to scenic and serene walks, but if reconfigured and properly maintained, this area could serve for the site of many different sporting events, and help discount the need to build additional sports facilities. Unfortunately, Ridgewood Reservoir holds the distinction of being one of the eight “Underdeveloped Destination Parks” to be completed under Mayor Bloomberg’s Plan. To that end, I support and recommend the following:
(1) Creation of an ecology research center and museum which would be available to students in the surrounding areas
(2) Preserving all historic natural areas and ensuring that they receive the same treatment as historical landmarks
(3) Installation of security lighting, new fencing, rehabilitation of walkways and railing, and the creation of a security system to protect the reservoir from unauthorized entry; and
(4) Establishment of an ongoing maintenance program for existing sports facilities located on Jamaica Avenue in Lower Highland Park as well as the four baseball fields located in Upper Highland Park.
Full testimony here: Queens Borough President Testimony