The reservoir's historic structures & ecosystems are an opportunity to create a unique environmental education center for our children & their future.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Historic Designation Getting Closer

With the organization NYCH2O driving the effort, the reservoir appears to be getting closer to landmark protector. A series of local newspaper article came out this week about that endeavor.

From the Queens Tribune:

Reprieve For Ridgewood Reservoir
on: March 16, 2017 In: News, Top News
BY JON CRONIN
Editor

The Ridgewood Reservoir has been given a stay of execution following a 20-year battle by community advocates.

The city Parks Department had initially wanted to toss construction debris into the reservoir, pave over it and then create athletic fields at the site, said Steven Fiedler, Community Board 5’s parks committee chairman.
The committee met with the Parks Department during CB 5’s most recent meeting and was able to get the agency to understand that the reservoir does not pose a flooding danger to the community.

According to Fiedler, CB 5 had dam and water experts present during the meeting to discuss the reservoir with Parks Department representatives. The experts presented data showing that during the largest rainstorm in the past century, approximately 15 years ago, the three basins did not rise more than an inch.

The Parks Department agreed to author a letter that would recommend the reservoir become part of the National Historic Register. CB 5 voted unanimously to support this on Fiedler’s recommendation.

Several years ago, the city had put aside $9 million for a succession of dams that would prevent overflow at the reservoir. Fiedler said he hopes that with the money still secured, infrastructure can be created throughout the reservoir, such as walkways, a visitor center, maintenance area and elevator.

Fiedler said that he and Matt Malina, a local water system educator, expect a letter from the Parks Department supporting the reservoir’s place on the register within the week.


This article is from the Queens Ledger:

CB5 supports historic designation for reservoir
by Patrick Kearns
03.13.17 - 03:21 pm

Community Board 5 voted unanimously to support adding the Ridgewood Reservoir to the National Register of Historic Places at its monthly board meeting last week.

“It puts another layer of protection on the Ridgewood Reservoir,” said Steven Fiedler, chair of the board’s Parks Committee. “If we can get them to put it on the National Registry of Historic Places, that means they could never touch it again and it has to stay nature.”

It would also open the Highland Park site up to federal grants for improvements such as pathways, elevators, and bridges.

The 19th century-era Ridgewood Reservoir provided water to Brooklyn, but became obsolete once the city began getting its water from the Catskills in 1936

Over time, nature took over and the site became a wetland. It was decommissioned by the Department of Environmental Conservation in 1990, and in 2004 it was given to the Parks Department.

There was talk of it being filled in to construct athletic fields, but now the Parks Department is committed to preserving the space and supports the historic designation.

“Parks is fully committed to preserving the dam as natural open space,” a spokesperson said.

© queensledger.com 2017


Another piece was in the Queens Chronicle:

Push for a ‘historic’ designation grows
by Christopher Barca, Associate Editor | Posted: Thursday, March 16, 2017 10:30 am

The years-long fight to preserve the Ridgewood Reservoir is finally coming to an end, Community Board 5 Parks Committee Chairman Steve Fiedler says.

And a happy one, at that.

CB 5 voted 32-0 last Wednesday to support a push to have the scenic location on the Brooklyn-Queens border added to the state and federal registers of Historic Places, much to Fielder’s joy.

“It’s been a 20-year battle with the Parks Department to keep this thing nature,” Fiedler said after the vote. “Thank you for your support and I think we finally won.”

Ground was first broken by the city on the three-basin reservoir, which sits within Highland Park on the Queens-Brooklyn border, in 1856.

It was used as one of the five boroughs’ primary water supplies until 1959, after which time it was used only as a water source during droughts.

It was eventually decommissioned and drained in 1989, eventually returning to its previous state as a popular forest habitat for birds and other wildlife with water filling the second basin.

Three years ago, the state proposed a flood mitigation project that would involve breaching the berms separating the basins and building roadways between them.

A city study later determined the area posed no flood risk and should be reclassified from a Class C high-hazard dam to a Class A low-hazard one.

Parks Department spokeswoman Meghan Lalor told the Chronicle in a Monday email that the agency will also be getting behind Fiedler’s push to have the Ridgewood Reservoir deemed a historic place.

“We will be pursuing a Critical Environmental Area designation for this site, as well as issuing a formal letter of support for the inclusion of the site on the National and State Historic Registers,” Lalor said. “NYC Parks is fully committed to preserving the dam as natural open space.”

Designating a space as a CEA is done by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. To become a CEA, according to the DEC, the area “must have an exceptional or unique character” with respect to public health, wildlife and ecological significance, as well as its cultural, historic, educational and recreational values.

Fiedler said he heard the reclassification from Class C to Class A could come this month, but Lalor said there is no timeline for such a decision.


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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Community Board Meeting

From Queens Community Board 5 District Manager:

**********

DATE: February 21, 2017

ATTN: Parks Services Committee Members and Guests

FROM: Gary Giordano, District Manager
           Community Board 5 Queens
           61-23 Myrtle Avenue
           Glendale, NY 11385

RE:  AGENDA & Meeting Notice for PARKS Services Committee Meeting at 7:30 PM on THURSDAY, MARCH 2nd, 2017 in Board 5 Office on Myrtle Avenue

Attached please find a copy of the meeting notice and agenda for the upcoming Parks Services Committee Meeting, that is scheduled to begin at 7:30pm on THURSDAY, MARCH 2nd, in the Board 5 office. If you haven’t already received a copy, also attached is a copy of the Ridgewood Reservoir Nomination to the State & National Historic Registers, as prepared by NYC H2O.

If you cannot attend this meeting, please either call the Board 5 office at (718) 366-1834, or reply via email. A quorum is required in order to vote at this committee meeting.

All are welcome to attend.

Thank you for your cooperation.
Gary

**********


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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Support Letter for Reservoir Listing

Below is a suggested letter of support for adding the Ridgewood Reservoir to the State and National Register of Historic Places. It has been over 8 years since the community began its uphill battle to protect this unique and important area. We are very close to accomplishing that goal, but could use a bit more help:

**********

February 9, 2017

Commissioner Rose Harvey
NY State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Rose.Harvey@parks.ny.gov
Peebles Island State Park
P.O. Box 189
Waterford, NY 12188-0189

Commissioner Harvey:

We wholeheartedly support the listing of the Ridgewood Reservoir on the State and National Register of Historic Places. This landmark in engineering history is the most important example of 19th century urban infrastructure in the City of New York, and it certainly merits recognition.

Built between 1856 and 1858, the Ridgewood Reservoir is the last remaining piece of the water supply system of the City of Brooklyn. It was an engineering marvel at the time, and today it is an important feature of Highland Park. The reservoir offers insight into the environmental history of Brooklyn, Queens and Nassau County, and as such is invaluable.

Since being decommissioned in 1989, the three reservoir basins have evolved into distinct ecological environments, from woodlands to wetlands. This evolution is unique in the city and affords an unequaled opportunity to study nature.

The Ridgewood Reservoir merits recognition as a landmark in urban history, engineering history, and environmental history, and we urge you to list this site on the New York State Register of Historic Places and the National Register.


Sincerely,


cc: Ruth Pierpont, Director, Division for Historic Preservation; Ruth.Pierpont@parks.ny.gov
NYC H2O; info@nych2o.org

**********

We suggest that support letters include cc’s to:

Queens Borough Parks Commissioner Dotty Lewandowski; dorothy.lewandowski@parks.nyc.gov
Liam Kavanagh, Deputy Parks Commissioner; liam.kavanagh@parks.nyc.gov
Steve Zahn, Acting Director NY State DEC Region 2; steve.zahn@dec.ny.gov
Ken Scarlatelli, Natural Resource Manager for NY State DEC Region 2; kenneth.scarlatelli@dec.ny.gov
Salema Davis, CB5 Brooklyn Parks Committee Chairwoman; Salemafabu@yahoo.com

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Application for Historic Preservation

NYC H2O has applied to the State and National Historic Registers for the Ridgewood Reservoir. You can write a letter of support and address it to the State Historic Preservation Office. Here's a link to a suggested letter.

New York State Division for Historic Preservation
Peebles Island State Park
P.O. Box 189
Waterford, NY 12188-0189



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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Fix is In

When the parks department announced that they were going to spend millions of taxpayer's dollars to unnecessarily breach the basin walls and build a road within, the public was, predictably, outraged. Eventually, the outcry from the community, opposition from politicians and thousands of signatures on a petition motivated the NYCDEC to commit to lowering the dam classification of the Ridgewood Reservoir, making the destruction of the berms and interior ecosystems unwarranted. The voice of reason seemed to have won out...until I stumbled on the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation "Highland Park Ridgewood Reservoir Dam Decommissioning" webpage. The page, which was updated as recently as 8/31/16, includes the following "revised" decommissioning plan:


If, in fact, the breaching, tree removal and road building will no longer be necessary, why is the page still active? Why is the parks department updating it without removing that plan? In case they delete it, here is a screengrab of that webpage:


Here's a link to all the postings on this blog about the proposed breaching plan. Why, after nearly two years since the parks department announced that they are abandoning their plans to breach the reservoir basins, does this still exists on their official website with updates to the project timeline and the webpage?

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Another Free Reservoir Tour

NYC H2O
Sunday, August 7, 2016 at 10am
Ridgewood Reservoir Tour with Matt Malina
NYC H2O is offering free tours of the Ridgewood Reservoir to community members and the public.

The Ridgewood Reservoir in Highland Park is a 50+ acre natural oasis that straddles the border of Brooklyn and Queens. Built in 1859 to supply the once independent City of Brooklyn with high quality water, it became obsolete with the addition of new reservoirs in the Catskills in the 1950’s and was decommissioned in the 1980’s. Since then, nature took its course in a perfect case study of ecological succession. A lush and dense forest has grown in its two outside basins while a freshwater pond with waterfowl sits in the middle basin.

Join us to explore this incredible natural resource in the heart of NYC. Please make a reservation. Cost is free.

We will meet in the parking lot at 1 Vermont Place.

Where
Ridgewood Reservoir - 1 Vermont Place, Brooklyn, NY 11207 - View Map

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Free Reservoir Tour

NYC H2O
Sunday, July 31, 2016 at 10:00am
Ridgewood Reservoir Community Tour
NYC H2O is offering free tours of the Ridgewood Reservoir to community members and the public.

The Ridgewood Reservoir in Highland Park is a 50+ acre natural oasis that straddles the border of Brooklyn and Queens. Built in 1859 to supply the once independent City of Brooklyn with high quality water, it became obsolete with the addition of new reservoirs in the Catskills in the 1950’s and was decommissioned in the 1980’s. Since then, nature took its course in a perfect case study of ecological succession. A lush and dense forest has grown in its two outside basins while a freshwater pond with waterfowl sits in the middle basin.

Join us to explore this incredible natural resource in the heart of NYC. Please make a reservation.

We will meet in the parking lot at 1 Vermont Place. Click here to register

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