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Photo by Ryan Kelley/QNS
Jonathan Turer of NYC H2O gives a presentation to Community Board 5 at a Feb. 8 meeting.

The National Park Service was well ahead of schedule when it moved to add the Ridgewood Reservoir to the National Register of Historic Places on Feb. 2.

Back in December of 2017, the reservoir was added to the New York State Register of Historic Places, and federal approval was initially anticipated for April of 2018. Representatives from NYC H2O, the nonprofit that wrote both the state and federal applications, took time to thank members of the local community at the Community Board 5 meeting on Wednesday night in Middle Village.

“None of it would have been possible without all the work that this community board did in advocating and protecting the reservoir,” said Matt Malina, executive director of NYC H2O.

The site that once served as the water supply for all of Brooklyn in the late 1800s was decommissioned after 100 years of use and ultimately taken over by the Parks Department in 2004. It was then contested as a possible site of development for new athletic fields before NYC H2O and other community groups advocated for its preservation. Now, the reservoir is federally protected from future development.

Several local politicians weighed in on the reservoir earning the designation. State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, a member of the New York State Senate Committee on Environmental Conservation, was glad the National Park Service acted fast.

“I am pleased to see that the National Park Service moved so quickly to place the Ridgewood Reservoir on the list, officially preserving its natural beauty, its historic context to Brooklyn and Queens, and its educational importance to students for future generations,” Addabbo said in a statement.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz further recognized the historical importance of the reservoir and called it “an invaluable opportunity to study nature.”

“The Ridgewood Reservoir was an engineering marvel in the 19th century and merits recognition as a landmark in urban history, engineering history and environmental history,” Katz said in a statement.

Councilman Robert Holden added in a statement that “not only has it become a beautiful landmark within our community, it has become vital to the local ecology.”

At the Board 5 meeting, NYC H2O also presented its future plans to further expand its educational programs for students and its efforts to add a bus stop and a crosswalk near the entrance of the parking lot to improve safety and accessibility.


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