The Ridgewood Reservoir is one of New York City's most unique natural habitats. Developing it would be an environmental tragedy.
Few places remain in the city where people can literally lose themselves in forestland; where trees grow so thick they drown out car traffic; where animals thrive in the wild.
The reservoir in Ridgewood is one of those places. Straddling the border between Brooklyn and Queens, the site could become a major inter-borough recreation destination, if managed correctly.
The Parks Department, which has set aside millions of dollars for the reservoir, has commissioned three master plans for the space. Though a winner won't be announced for some time, it's likely the plans will include one already-floated proposal to turn significant portions of the reservoir into recreations space; another proposal to turn the site into a natural preserve; and a third that falls somewhere in between.
As usual, so far the city favors more development.
Community residents are calling for less. Their plan would turn the site into a carefully managed natural preserve complete with an education center that would, conceivably attract children from Brooklyn, Queens, and perhaps beyond.
This plan makes sense. If the city wants improved ball fields in the area, why not work on the existing ones at Highland Park? City officials might revisit the reservoir to remind themselves just how special it is.