Silver Lake Reservoir Moves One Step Closer To Redesign

The Silver Lake Reservoir (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

By Emily Henderson and Jessica P. Ogilvie

At a community meeting last night, city officials unveiled a master plan for the redesign of the Silver Lake Reservoir.

The design, which is still open to tweaks before it's formally accepted, includes more walking and jogging paths, nature and wildlife habitats, a great lawn and water overlooks, an educational center and re-imagined dog parks.

A rendering of the proposed plan for the Silver Lake Reservoir (Courtesy L.A. Bureau of Engineering)

"The master plan... includes prioritizing habitat for nature and wildlife, but it also includes a lot of spaces for people," said Sarah Ullman, the co-chair of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council's reservoir committee. "It strives to make the reservoir a more equitable place and a more accessible place for people and wildlife at the same time."

The project got underway in March of 2018 after approval from the L.A. City Council. Landscape architecture and planning firm Hargreaves Jones, whose recent work includes Zaryadye Park in Moscow, Scissortail Park in Oklahoma City and Crescent Park in New Orleans, will be the lead design consultant.

Chee Salette will serve as the local landscape architect. The Glendale-based firm is also designing the Taylor Yard Park in Frogtown.

A rendering of the proposed plan for the Silver Lake Reservoir (Courtesy L.A. Bureau of Engineering)

Feelings haven't always been friendly towards installing more parks and walkways around the reservoir. After the basin was drained in 2015, subsequent community meetings became contentious as locals demanded that it be refilled, not redesigned.

But those involved with the current plan are hopeful that they've landed on a solid compromise. At a community meeting in November, Hargreave Jones presented three possible designs for the reservoir and solicited public feedback via an online questionnaire.

According to Ullman, almost 4,000 people have responded to the surveys altogether.

"We're really looking at this as sort of a shared vision for the reservoir and [its] future," she said.

A rendering of the proposed plan for the Silver Lake Reservoir (Courtesy L.A. Bureau of Engineering)
A rendering of the proposed plan for the Silver Lake Reservoir (Courtesy L.A. Bureau of Engineering)

Thursday's community meeting was the fourth such gathering. The city hopes to unveil a final design in May at the fifth and final community meeting, and to hold a celebration at that time.

Construction, however, likely won't start for several years.

"This is simply the initial design phase," said Ullman. "And then we will have to apply for grants and for funding from the city and elsewhere... So it's still, you know, quite a few years away."