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The future of the Silver Lake and Ivanhoe Reservoir’s
Earlier last week the Los Angeles Board of Public Works along with the DWP and the city engineering bureau signed off on an agreement to update a set plan for the Silver Lake Reservoir and the smaller Ivanhoe Reservoir.
In early 2000 a plan was crafted before both of the bodies of water were removed from LA’s network of water storage facilities. After their removal from the water network, installation began almost immediately for walking trails all around the complex and in 2001 the Silver Lake Meadows was open.
After more than a decade of its decommission the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and local officials are finally planning the future for the Silver Lake Reservoir and its surroundings.
“This has been a long time coming,” said board president Kevin James during Friday’s meeting.
But a lot has changed since the original plan was created. Both reservoirs have been refilled and emptied multiple times. The DWP’s original plans for the site have changed (for instance, the utility provider once hoped to use drinking water to keep the reservoirs full; years of drought have complicated that strategy).
In attendance at the meeting were members of Silver Lake Forward, a nonprofit organization that in 2016 had a proposal to add a 96-acre public park alongside the reservoir the design would be by landscape architect Mia Lehrer (who also help prepared the original plan back in 2000).
In a statement, City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell said that “it will likely include greater access, sustainable conservation practices, and other improvements… born out of input from neighborhood participants.” The updating of the plan would allow members of the public to participate in a “collective vision” for the reservoir complex.
In July Councilmembers O’Farrell and David Ryu, received an open letter from the nonprofit organization stressing that the plan update should include as much public access as possible to both land and water features of the reservoir complex.
That new proposal includes walkways, landscaping, artificial islands, and direct access to the body of water itself it is now isolated from the public by a tall, chain-link fence.
Public works board member Joel Jacinto told BOE and DWP staffers that “the process of community engagement” would be key in updating the plan. He’s anticipating fierce debate over proposals for the reservoir.
At a series of community meetings while workers diverted pipes at the bottom of the lakebed and the reservoir sat empty, many community members were dismissive of plans for more park space and jeered when officials offered up Echo Park Lake as a model for the reservoir’s future. Not all residents of the area are as enthusiastic about expanding public space around the reservoir.
Pending approval from the City Council, the update is expected to take about three years to complete, at a cost of nearly $3 million. Aside from developing a new public use framework for the site, the plan will also touch on strategies to keep the large bodies of water full and clean during times of drought.
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