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Committee Presenting Schedler Plan on Wednesday

Ridgewood's Open Space Committee to make recommendations as to the fate of the 7-acre property near between West Saddle River Road and Route 17.

Will the historic house be saved? Will sports fields be created? Perhaps the site nestled between West Saddle River Road and Route 17 will become an arboretum or a small golf course?

Residents are likely to have a better sense of what the Schedler property will become on Wednesday night when Ridgewood's Open Space Committee presents its recommendations for the 7-acre property purchased in 2009.

At informal forums earlier this year, leaders of youth sports groups in town made it clear – the village is woefully underequipped to provide recreational opportunities for its youth and adults alike.

A report commissioned by the Open Space Committee in 2010 found the village had roughly half of the state's recommended level of open space. With the recent opening of Habernickel Family Park, that loss has been somewhat mitigated though the fundamental problem remains – there are too many participants at too few fields.

Speakers at the resident forums also had other ideas for uses at Schedler.

Some proposed the property simply be left as is – "untouched, untrampled." An arboretum or ecology center could provide educational opportunities for children, suggested resident Roger Wiegand. Maybe a small golf course could be an option, he pondered.

There's also the matter of the Dutch wood-frame house that sits on the 7-acre property.

Fearing a repeat of the demolitions of historic homes in neighboring Paramus, a coalition of residents (calling themselves "Ridgewood Eastside Development" group) have heavily lobbied to preserve the 1830s structure.

They expressed trepidation that the sports groups' proposal of a multipurpose field overlapping a baseball field would take up 4 of the roughly 7 acres at Schedler, a point disputed by sports groups.  

The RED has fought to preserve the Dutch home with hopes of restoring the home and designating it as a community meeting space.

It's also been made clear that with village money being tight, any development would require much in the way of private fundraising.

The RED and sports groups both told the village they had the ability to fundraise.

Ultimately, the ball will be in the council's court come Wednesday night. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Sydney Stoldt Court Room. We'll have a recap following the meeting, so stick around.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Dorothy October 23, 2012 at 11:15 AM
Where are the lights be installed?
jp1 October 23, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Ecology center sounds pretty good and a excellent choice for open space.
News Man October 23, 2012 at 02:15 PM
There probably will be a few comments made by the public now that the President Debates are over.

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