Monday, June 29, 2009

Ridgewood Reservoir a victim of tweeding

From the Forum West:

The first phase of the project recently began and includes new lighting, steps, benches and perimeter fences to improve safety and accessibility at the reservoir. Mark K. Morrison Associations of Manhattan was awarded the $7.7 million contract for that work, and is also in the process of creating three proposals for the future of the property’s three basins.

That $7.7 million has already been allocated and is not included in the $19.8 million remaining for Ridgewood Reservoir, according to Steve Fiedler, who is chairman of Community Board 5’s Parks Committee and opposes development of ballfields.

[Parks] noted that ballfields have been requested by community groups such as the East Brooklyn Congregations.

However, a study by the group Highland Park-Ridgewood Reservoir Alliance, which is pushing for the three basins to be preserved, showed that permits were issued for the existing ballfields for just a fraction of the available time during the past two years.

Fiedler questioned the motives of the East Brooklyn Congregations and doubts their claims that they cannot secure time at Highland Park’s existing fields. “His organization is pushing for fields at the top of basin three on eight acres, for what reason God only knows,” he said. “I hate to say that someone is lying for political gains, but the proof is in the pudding,” he added regarding the field usage.

From the Daily News:

East Brooklyn Congregations, an umbrella group of more than 30 Brooklyn churches and community groups, wants 8 acres of the 50-acre reservoir to be developed into two regulation-sized fields - one for soccer and football, the other for baseball.

"Everybody that we have talked to has said, 'If you want to give us anything in that reservoir, give us fields for active recreation," said Bishop David Benke, head of the Lutheran Church in the eastern region of the state.

Hmm...that's a very different attitude coming from the Reverend than 2 years ago... From the Times Newsweekly, July 5, 2007:

Recreation and education at the reservoir were the central themes of a renovation plan developed by a team consisting of Bishop David Benke, pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church of Cypress Hills, Roy Sawyer, community liaison for Assemblyman Towns and Sam and Ana Franqui of the Highlanders East New York United Front.

According to Bishop Benke, the team was focused on recreating Ridgewood Reservoir as an educational and passive recreation center for residents in Brooklyn and Queens. One main component of the plan, as he described to participants, would be the formation of an environmental center at the easternmost basin ideal for students who can venture to the park on field trips to study wildlife and plant growth in the chamber.

While reserving the middle basin as a man-made lake with fish, the bishop explained, the westernmost basin would be created into a botanical garden with greenhouses and a picnic area for students and parkgoers to gather. Benke also suggested that a new observation deck could be built in the southern section of the chamber to allow visitors to see sections of Brooklyn, Manhattan and Jamaica Bay from one of the highest points on Long Island.

So what the heck changed in the course of a few months? Here it is in one sentence:

When the city sells you lots o'land for $1 (upon which you construct vast quantities of Brooklyn Crap) and then they call in a favor, you do what they ask, otherwise, you might get cut off...

The real story goes like this: Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski and Highland Park Administrator Debbie Kuha called Bishop Benke to the Overlook, gave him a debriefing and a presentation on a disc which contained the now-infamous "Secret Slide" and then told him to bring it back to his congregation and present it to them. (The preservation-minded had to settle for a leaked copy.) Then he was asked to follow up on this by showing up with kids in tow to demand sports fields at the city council oversight hearing held about the reservoir issue. Parks is notorious for orchestrating these dog-and-pony shows of false support for their unpopular initiatives in public forums. EBC has been at every public meeting since. This group has never even applied for a field permit at Highland Park.

When you bring up things like this, the argument then becomes that there are no "regulation-sized" fields at Highland (which seems to come as a surprise to the teams that do use them and say that they are). So if that is the case, then take the unused ballfields that are there currently and turn them into regulation-sized fields. Problem solved. Oh...hold on, Parks will tell you that the fields are used for many hours of pickup ball play and team practices which don't require permits. Which they might be able to get away with if there were actually people observed using the fields during "prime time" for ball play. Too bad there aren't.

After they run out of excuses, Parks then states that the money is only to be used inside the basins, even though their own press release states that the money is to be used to fix the infrastructure in Highland Park in order to make it a "destination park." So the fields must be built inside and the ones on the outside must remain in their present condition. Do you better understand this ridiculous waste of taxpayer money?

The "affordable housing" tweeders love the bishop and despite separation of church and state, they took it upon themselves to pass a resolution to support him after the leadership of his church sanctioned him. Now he is being used by Council Member Erik Martin Dilan to push for construction inside the basins.

Someone has been promised gigantic construction contracts out of this and the tweeders never anticipated that the opposition would be so overwhelming to what they want to do here. So they manufactured their own resistance movement.

As many have commented here, it's time to BRING IN THE FEDS!

More to come.


Taxpayer said...

A bishop would be most expert at the selling of his soul and the souls of his followers.

Combine that with the reptilian ability of this Commissar to purchase souls and discard them after their usefulness expires, and what have you got?

A lying mixture of church and state to make money.

Wait until the bishop learns that he sold cheap.

Once the reservoir has been destroyed, the public land will be gifted (by the taxpayers) to some extremely wealthy private developers who will profit enough to buy and sell that bishop at a flea market. Then where will this baseball playing congregation play its beloved game (that it never seems to seek permits to play)?

Anonymous said...

I am of the firm belief that anyone in this City can be bought for the right price. Even the clergy. Why hasn't anyone from the press ever questioned him on his contradictory stance? Because he's a local hero priest? Please...

Anonymous said...

Oh God not another
"affordable housing" charlatan. You can do anything you want in this city so long as you throw those words around.

Anonymous said...

They're trying the old, "won't someone think of the children!" line. The reason this won't work is because most people understand that keeping natural habitats intact will benefit children more than a baseball field will. This community has one of the highest rates of asthma in the City. Cutting down mature trees that clean the air won't help that.

Anonymous said...

Parks is notorious for orchestrating these dog-and-pony shows of false support for their unpopular initiatives in public forums.

Sounds like development projects in western Queens. Tongues still wag about the supposed Suna Weinie Roast at Queensbridge, then bringing the kids in as backdrop for his waterfront land grab (ok ok ok, his public access jobs creation project) that would tie up traffic on Vernon, block the sun from Queensbridge, and act as a 50 story wall reflecting all the noise from the bridge traffic back on Queensbridge.

Anonymous said...

A greenhouse for the Highland reservoir? The city can't even maintain the existing one in nearby Forest Park! (see last week's Queens Crap)

Anonymous said...