A group of citizens intent on preserving and beautifying Ridgewood's park lands has formed a conservancy group, and will be throwing its welcoming party to coincide with the long-awaited opening of Habernickel Park on Hillcrest Road.
The group, called Conservancy of Ridgewood Public Lands (CRPL), will be gathering at Habernickel Park's horse barn from 5-7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19. The public is invited to attend the event.
“A group of dedicated citizens has been working the past year or so to formally organize this new foundation,” CRPL member Maribeth Lane said in a news release. “We are very excited to announce our mission statement, specific goals and to gather new supporters. First on our list is to identify all Village parks with entrance signs.”
The CRPL plans to fundraise to keep Ridgewood's parks looking top-notch, in accordance with the village's Master Plan.
There are roughly 15 parks in Ridgewood, ranging from recreation fields to trails and wooded areas with wildlife. The list includes Pleasant Park, King’s Pond Park, Gypsy Pond Park, North Road Park, Graydon & Maple Parks, Grove Park, Irene Habernickel Park, Twinney Pond Park, Dunham Trail, Veteran’s Field, Leuning Park, the Schedler Property, Van Neste Square and Citizen’s Park.
“While residents are using many of the parks for active and passive activities, several are underdeveloped,” said CRPL member and director of parks and rec in Ridgewood, Tim Cronin. “Our goal is to improve our well-known parks and public lands and restore the underdeveloped properties.”
“This is a celebration for the entire community to support Ridgewood’s parks and public lands,” added realtor Bill Gilsenan, a member of Ridgewood’s Open Space Committee and CRPL in the news release. “We all enjoy our town’s parks. Whether it’s to walk on one of our walking paths, take the kids to the playground or enjoy an outside concert. Enhancing our parks is a benefit to all.”
Habernickel Park, located at 1037 Hillcrest Road, was purchased by the village in 2004 for $7.4 million, using a combination of villge funds, grant money and Open Space funding.
The project to transform the former horse farm to a park with a multipurpose sports field, a baseball field, playground and walking trails has been a slow one. The contractor, Franklin Lakes-based Vernieri Inc., stalled at various points before finally filing for bankrupcy and having its assets sold at auction in August.
The Friday night kick-off event will include brief remarks from CRPL members, beverages and short tours of the park.
Then, on Sunday, the village will be holding its own ceremony for the dedication of the park. Mayor Paul Aronsohn and the council will be on hand for the ribbon cutting.
Residents Doug Goodell and Jim Wright will be signing their photography book "Ducks Enough to Fly." In addition, there will be a nature scavenger hunt; wildscape walks; tree saplings; a heaping of candy apples, cider and donuts; as well as musical acts and hot air balloon rides from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
If you're interested in supporting The Conservancy for Ridgewood Public Lands or being added to their email list, shoot them an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or write some snail mail to P.O. Box 123, Ridgewood, 07451.
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