BY JON CRONIN
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.