SILVER LAKE – Since a pair of sleek wood and steel benches were installed on the north end of the Silver Lake reservoirs about nearly two years ago, they had become a popular spot for people to take a break in a shady spot called Mallard Grove. But recently, the benches near Tesla Avenue and Armstrong Street were removed by the Department of Water and Power, leaving only the concrete slabs that had supported the seats and a black and white sign saying: “Improvements In Progress. The Benches Will Return Soon.” Why were the benches removed? It turns out a nearby resident complained that the benches were being used by suspicious persons. The benches are coming back but some residents are not happy about how the situation was handled.
Craig Collins, president of the Silver Lake Reservoirs Conservancy, the nonprofit group that spearheaded the installation of the benches, explained what happened:
In response to the concerns of a neighbor, LA DWP is reorienting the benches in the Mallard Grove on Tesla. Benches have been temporarily removed while their bases are turned so that visitors will be facing towards the lake, rather than towards Tesla. In addition, a new light and security camera will be added.
But Silver Lake resident Guy Vidal said he and others are not happy about the change and the DWP’s failure to contact others about the bench removal. Vidal said the benches were used all the time, mostly by moms, nannies and kids. Said Vidal in an email:
They made the block happier – by causing parents and kids to congregate there … I don’t know who complained but the local residents sitting there were not people casing the neighbor’s home. And even if the persons sitting there were not locals (I wonder how one could discern that anyway) – that doesn’t make them potential thieves.”