According to a Parks representative, this is part of mandatory regulations set by the state Department of Environmental Conservation for developments in the park.
“The scope of work for the dam decommissioning will require the clearing and grubbing of vegetation, and the removal of embankment fill materials in order to create breaches in three locations as determined through a geotechnical and hydrologic engineering study,” the spokesperson said.
Highland Park is currently under refurbishment as the city is adding walkways, lampposts and handicapped-accessible ramps.
Ridgewood Reservoir was once a water supply to Brooklyn from 1858 to 1959, a backup supply for Brooklyn and Queens until 1989, and was later decommissioned by the Department of Environmental Protection in 1990.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg transferred the property to to the Parks Department in 2004, where it has been under development for a park expansion ever since.
While Community Board 5 has been pushing to move the reservoir park development project forward, CB5 chair Vinny Arcuri is now hesitant over a large gated opening to the park, recently installed for construction purposes.
“We wrote a letter saying we have no objection of breeching the dam, but do object to a large gated opening that could invite vandalism,” Arcuri said of the current project.
Arcuri explained that the board is concerned that the structure may become vulnerable to vandalism and a possible a haven for the homeless.
“People will think there will be vandalism,” said CB5 board member Kathy Masi.
At the board's March 13th monthly meeting at Christ the King Regional High School in Middle Village, Masi and members of the board said they would like to agree on a solution, however some fear it is too late.
“They’re going to do it anyways because it’s a done deal,” she said.
Parks responded, ensuring that only the gate on Vermont Place is expected to be tall enough to permit pedestrian access.
“The gates can be locked and will be locked as needed,” a representative said.