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Three Ridgewood Reservoir blueprints unveiled

The city's Parks Department recently released three concept plans for the Ridgewood Reservoir in Highland Park. Rendering courtesy Parks Department
TimesLedger Newspapers

Three new concept plans that may help determine the future of the Ridgewood Reservoir were unveiled last month.

The Phase 2 design plans were developed based on listening sessions and surveys conducted in 2008 and 2009, according to Gary Giordano, district manager of Community Board 5.

The city Parks Department presented the plans at a public meeting June 27.

The reservoir is currently undergoing Phase 1 construction, which includes lighting, fencing and the construction of handicap access.

The first concept plan, Concept Plan A, is the simplest and closest to what members of the community have asked for. Under that plan, two of the three basins are inaccessible, but it does include viewing platforms, trail heads and a potential pedestrian bridge.

Concept Plan B includes everything from Plan A as well as other amenities, including a tree canopy walk, a boardwalk in Basin 1, a boat dock in Basin 2 and a rock climbing wall.

Plan C, includes everything from the first two plans plus more additions such as another boardwalk, another boat dock, natural turf playing fields and a “waterworks adventure playground.”

Zachary Feder, a Parks spokesman, said the plans are intended to foster discussion and to be adjusted with community input. Elements of the plans can be mixed and matched, he said.

There are no cost estimates for the plans nor has there been any funding allocated for them. Cost estimates will be available once the design process progresses further, Feder said.

The reservoir operated as a water supply from 1858-1959, the Parks Department said. From 1960-89, the second basin was used as a backup water supply for Brooklyn and Queens. In 1990, the site was decommissioned and in 2004 Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans to develop it into a public park.

Members of the community have said they want to limit development at the site.

CB 5 wants to keep the reservoir as close to a natural preserve as is humanly possible, Giordano said.

“We have never been for the development of those reservoirs to any significant extent,” he said.

Giordano said if ball fields are a need in the park, then the fields that already exist in Highland Park should be renovated.

“One thing we’ve been hearing is that less is more,” he said. “What we would like to see is a renovation of the pump house and the gate house so that they can be used for staffing and bathrooms and for an environmental center.”

The reservoir is currently closed until Phase 1 renovations are finished, which is expected to happen this summer, almost a year after the original planned completion date, Giordano said.

Giordano said the CB 5 Parks Committee will meet over the summer to review the concept plans again.

Reach reporter Bianca Fortis by email at bfortis@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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