Monday, January 11, 2010

Parks set on bad plan for reservoir

From the Times Ledger:

After a two-month delay, plans for the future of Ridgewood Reservoir will finally be unveiled to Community Board 5 probably later this month, officials told a Borough Board meeting Monday night.

But the selection or implementation of any of these plans could still be years away as CB 5 and the city Parks Department continue to spar over details of the first phase of the plan, which will repair crumbling concrete stairs, widen turns in the perimeter path and build an observation path on a causeway between two of the three reservoir basins.

CB 5 wanted several concessions from the Parks Department, including a pedestrian bridge over Vermont Place between the parking lot and the park, eliminating a ramp for the physically disabled because it would be redundant with the proposed bridge and raising the height of fences from 4 to 6 feet.

But Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski has turned down most of the board’s requests. Kevin Quinn, director of Queens capital projects for the Parks Department, defended the agency’s firm stance at Monday’s meeting.

A pedestrian bridge would cost between $2 million and $3 million, eating up a substantial chunk of the $7.6 million allocated for the first phase of construction, he said.

Quinn also said the Parks Department had petitioned the city Department of Transportation for a traffic signal and pedestrian crossing at the parking lot, but the DOT turned them down.

Planners have put forward three possible directions for developing the reservoir as a city park: making it a nature preserve with minimal facilities, turning it into an active recreation site with numerous ballfields and a combination of the first two plans. CB 5 favors the nature preserve course.

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