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Los Feliz council considers opening the Rowena Reservoir to the public

Rowena Reservoir

Los Feliz   — Many of the persons who walk or drive by the busy intersection of Rowena and Hyperion avenues might be surprised to learn that they are passing right by the Rowena Reservoir.

Hidden behind dense greenery, berms and encircled by a tall green fence, the 10-million gallon reservoir is buried underground and topped by park-like grounds with decorative lagoons, waterfalls, palm trees and walking paths. Now, there’s an effort to open up the grounds that have been off limits to the public for more than two decades.

On Tuesday night, the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council is scheduled to review a resolution supporting the opening of the six-acre property to the public.

That might not be easy, however, since the L.A. Department of Water & Power, which manages and controls the property, has long resisted efforts to do so. And, it turns out, many people who live near the reservoir also want it to remained closed.

A recent survey of 230 residents who live within one mile of the reservoir showed that the 84% “support a lot” the idea of opening the property during daylight hours. However, that level of support dropped to 60% among those who lived within half mile of the reservoir. Meanwhile, 30% of those who lived nearby opposed the idea.

The survey found that opening the reservoir grounds might reduce the times nearby residents have to drive to Griffith and more distant parks.

“It’s a beautiful space that could be used by neighbors to enjoy time outside,” according to the comment of one person who took the survey. “Many nearby residents do not have yards and would love an accessible green space.”

However, others were worried that opening the reservoir grounds to the public would attract more traffic, trash and homeless.

“My support would be conditional,” said one person. “If L.A. is going to allow it to become a tent city for the homeless, I’d rather it stayed closed.”

Even if the council votes in favor of opening the reservoir property, it lacks authority to do so.

LADWP officials  have long said that high-voltage electrical and other equipment related to the reservoir tank poses a hazard to those who wander nearby.

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8 comments

  1. The Los Feliz Neighborhood Council doesn’t have the power to open the Rowena Reservoir to the public. It is owned and operated by the LADWP, who has said in no uncertain terms that as long as it remains an active DWP facility, the Rowena Reservoir will never be open to the public. The LFNC had a meeting about six months ago, where DWP representatives came to answer questions and explain why opening the reservoir would be dangerous and untenable. Sure, the LFNC can send a letter saying they want the reservoir opened, but that is where their power ends, and such a letter would likely be ignored by the DWP who has repeatedly made their position clear.

  2. While it may seem attractive to open the Rowena Reservoir, my concern would be increased traffic. That area along Hyperion and Glendale by Gelsons and Trader Joe’s is already so congested. This would be make it worse.

    • Dude, there are many, many residents who could simply walk a block or two from home and enjoy a beautiful park. Easy decision: open it!!!!

  3. It’s an absolute tragedy that this much beautifully landscaped open space is kept off limits in a cage no one can visit. The DWP should just move their operation somewhere else rather then holding a beautiful park hostage in a place as park poor as LA.

  4. It’s 2019 and we’re still fighting against parks because “what about the homeless encampment?”, “what about the tags?”, and “won’t somebody please think of the cars”? Depressing. On the other hand, I’m heartened by the fact that 60% of Los Felizeans and Silver Lakers in the immediate area actually support opening up the property, even if it does mean *gulp* that they might have to park two blocks from their homes or worse, in their garages!

  5. It is an atrocity that this was so expensively landscaped, at taxpayer expense, with only people on the one street even able to see it, and all these years it has been closed to the public who paid for that landscaping. It it was going to be closed to the public, it never should have been landscapped, as that is nothing but a gift a public funds tot he people living on that one street who can see it.

    In contrast, after 25 years of fighting for the reservoir in Elysian Park to be nicely landscaped, but not even demanding as nicely as Rowena, all they got in the middle of a city park was an aluminum roof over the existing reservoir — a major blight on the park! Those fighting on behalf of Elysian Park joined in a coalition to also fight for the other reservoirs being covered, including Rowena. No one from the Rowena reservoir, nor the Silver Lake and Ivanhoe reservoirs, helped those fighting for Elysian Park when that park’s turn came.

    That is, there have been bad attitudes, and the closure of the beautifully landscaped acreage at Rowena is an prime example of it. And that continues with the nearby residents continuing to think that is their private, gated community park view. No, that is the park view and use of the residents of Los Angles who paid for it.

    As for the DWP’s assertions about safety, that is so. However, it is easily addressed, the electrical facilities can readily be made safe with the public and other concerns can similarly be addressed. The DWP is really most writing to know who will give them the money to do it, they don’t want their budget impacted. That would be the job of Councilman Ryu to find, and make sure it is provided in the next city budget.

  6. Any time the DWP says something can’t happen, that’s your notice that we’ll soon be able to accomplish it. The reasons they offer are so transparently ludicrous that they suggest we can make this happen.

  7. The Rowena Reservoir is owned by DWP which they seem to always forget is owned by the City of Los Angeles. They can and should open the Park on a conditional basis. I live nearby and fear the homeless encampment factor but as Grand Park has shown If a park is well used and secured by guards many problems can be avoided.
    You can look back at articles in the local paper that say the DWP is working on the electrical issue at the
    Reservoir to make it safe at great cost. Then they wait a few years and hope people will forget the millions of dollars spent by them with the aim of opening a park. The reservoir already has 24 on site security which probably has prevented it from becoming an encampment. I also believe that the new Expensive reservoir being built at Traveltown will put Rowena offline . There no excuse not to make this a park. Thanks to term limits we can get people to work on this project and get something done.If the Park does not work then work on the problems or close it. Nobody knows or remembers today that Bellevue Park was a DWP Reservoir. People in Silverlake should take notice. Do you want a Bellevue Park or Rowena Ponds Park.

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