Ridgewood Council Addresses Environmental Concerns and Infrastructure Improvements Amid Resident Dissatisfaction

The recent Ridgewood Council meeting was marked by discussions on environmental safety and infrastructure, reflecting the community’s growing concerns over soil contamination, flooding, and related public health risks. In response to resident dissatisfaction, the council engaged with experts and planned further testing to ensure the safety of the Shedler property, while also addressing the restoration of flood-damaged fields and contemplating the replacement of critical sewage system components.

Deputy Mayor Pamela R. Perron announced a recent consultation with Tom Farrell, head of the contaminated soil division at D, regarding the parameters for soil testing at the Shedler property. This announcement was set against a backdrop of public unease, as residents Ellie Gruber and Loving accused the council of mishandling the artificial turf proposal and the soil contamination issue, respectively. Gruber voiced concerns about potential health risks from artificial turf, while Loving alleged a cover-up by the council. In response, Council Member Lorraine Reynolds sought clarity on the testing process, and Village Manager Keith Killion reassured the public that there was no immediate health threat and defended the council’s transparency.

The council also tackled the ongoing debate about field sizes and the choice between turf and grass. A council member raised the importance of adhering to previous plans and recommendations made by an ad hoc committee concerning the use of turf. This conversation expanded to include the potential restoration of multiple parks, such as Maple Park and Vetfield, which have been affected by flooding. A proposal was made to hold a special public meeting to expedite the approval for necessary restoration work.

Flood management remained a significant topic, with council members sharing observations from tours of affected areas. A flood portal was suggested to collect resident experiences.

Infrastructure improvements were also a focal point, as the council discussed the bridge at the end of Kingsbridge Lane. Concerns were raised about its potential to exacerbate water backup for upstream residents. The bond ordinance for West Glenn and Kingsbridge was addressed, with the understanding that authorizing funds would not equate to immediate spending, leaving room for adjustments based on community feedback.

Councilmember Siobhan Winograd reported on the Fields Committee meeting, where the mental wellness of student athletes due to the condition of the fields was a concern, while Councilmember Evan Weitz acknowledged the need for operational fields and alternative options for students. Mayor Paul Vagianos stressed the strategic delay in field work due to weather and flooding risks, also highlighting the search for alternative turf fields. Councilmember Lorraine Reynolds shared updates on the Central Business District Advisory Committee’s efforts to market downtown and the closure of the Warner Theater.

In terms of fiscal responsibility, Pamela R. Perron proudly announced that the Village of Ridgewood received a AAA Bond rating by Standard and Poor’s. The council discussed the bond ordinance for installing sidewalks on West Glenn Avenue and repairing the Kingsbridge pedestrian bridge, agreeing to further assess the project before final expenditure.

The council suspended the work session to convene a special public meeting where several resolutions and ordinances related to capital improvements and traffic regulations were adopted. Upon reconvening, they awarded a sole-source contract to Emerson Process Management Power and Water Solutions Inc for the skada Software System for the Ridgewood Water Department.

The urgent need for work on the Pake Valley sewage system was debated, with a national water main cleaning company providing an estimate and the council considering proactive measures for the aging infrastructure. The replacement of three pumps at the Wastewater control facility was discussed, opting for an economy of scale by replacing all pumps simultaneously.

A new initiative by Green Ridgewood, in collaboration with Columbia University graduate students, was introduced to assess the village’s carbon footprint and develop strategies for reducing flooding and fossil fuel dependence. The council passed an endorsing resolution and expressed enthusiasm for the project.

Public comment concluded the meeting, with requests for transparency in the soil evaluation report and its publication on the village website, as well as debate over the cost and details of an engineering firm’s work on a shipo application. Additionally, the impact of a footbridge on flooding was contested by residents with evidence to challenge the claim that the bridge caused flooding.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Mayor:
Paul Vagianos
City Council Officials:
Pamela R. Perron, Lorraine Reynolds, Evan Weitz, Siobhan Winograd

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