Save Ridgewood Reservoir:
After over 7 years of Brooklyn and Queens residents fighting to prevent the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation from needlessly spending millions of taxpayer's dollars to destroy an environmentally significant 50 acre site, it appears that we are nearing the end of the road.
On Monday, June 30, 2014, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, along with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, held a public meeting at St. Pancras School in Glendale, Queens. The purpose of the meeting was to answer questions about the imminent decommissioning process of the Ridgewood Reservoir, which, according to the parks department application to the NYSDEC, would involve creating three very large breaches in the reservoir's surrounding berms. In fact, one would be large enough to allow trucks to enter the basins and drive along a roadway that will be constructed. You can read some of the media coverage of the meeting here. I was not completely happy with the coverage as most of the reporters seemed to have overlooked some of the most significant revelations during the question and answer period.
The meeting represented the climax of the parks department's campaign of misleading the community about their intentions and being completely disingenuous over the past 7 years when it came to responding to the community's desires and concerns. In 2007 the parks department began a series of public meetings entitled "Community Listening Sessions Regarding Future Plans for the Ridgewood Reservoirs". What, on the surface, appeared to be a genuine interest in the public's aspirations for their future use of this unintentional nature sanctuary, soon became clear was merely lip service as they had already decided on the area's long term development. When the community unequivocally declared that they did not want the reservoir basins developed, the parks department responded by having a second set of surveys filled out by a group who was shilling for their plan. It should come as no surprise to anyone that, despite past assurances, the parks department will be breaching the basins, creating roads and ramps to allow truck access and giving permission to the contractors to "dewater" (drain) the work basins as needed. All this will happen despite the fact that the parks department's own contractors determined that not only is the site ecologically significant, but certainly wetlands and that the basins contain at least 3 endangered species of plants.