From Save Ridgewood Reservoir:
Since the start of the input process the parks department, namely Queens Commissioner Lewandowski and Park Administrator Kuha, have claimed that safety was their primary concern. Many of us commend them on their efforts to have openings in the existing 7' high chainlink fence repaired regularly and helping to increase patrols in the area. Homeless encampments in the basins, makeshift paintball areas and other illegal activities have been eliminated in the forested wetlands within the basins...So why has Commission Lewandowski and Ms. Kuha given approval to a design that calls for removing the 7' high fence and replacing it with a 4' high fence? Was all their talk about safety just designed to keep people away from the reservoirs and create a negative image of the area? I suppose if you want to destroy "unique natural habitats" without any opposition the first thing you would want to do is make people think that it is a danger to the public. Does the parks department actually believe that people aren't going to jump over the fence to access the "dangerous" basins? And if anyone has difficulty climbing the fence, the proposed lighting design has the lampposts inline with the fences making for a convenient stepladder. Besides the obvious negative impact this will have on basins 1 and 3, there have been dozens of news articles posted over the decades about people drowning in the reservoir (basin 2 is a lake).
Another waste of money is the fact that the design calls for placing the lighting on the inside of the path and, rather than burying a single electrical line along the inside of the path, running it along the outside edge, with each lighting fixture then needing to have a separate lead splitting off from the outside of the path. Vincent Arcuri, the president of Queens Community Board 5, is a licensed electrician and pointed out this waste of money. Again, community voices were ignored.
There will be some seating added here. No additional seating or exercise stations (requested by the community) will be installed around the perimeter of the basins.
It is unclear to me whether the Department of Parks & Recreation had a design already in mind when they began the process of public input or if the parks commissioner just overruled any designs that included community recommendations. Either way, there is little question that the democratic process for this project has been seriously compromised.