Advocates of Elysian Park and their allies have waged a 25-year-long battle against a plan to cover up the nearly century-old Elysian Reservoir with a metal or rubber cover. Today, they lost that battle. The L.A. Department of Water and Power commissioners voted in favor of slapping a synthetic rubber cover – dismissed by one critic as a “rubber mat” – across the 55-million gallon reservoir, rejecting a much more expensive proposal that would build underground storage tanks topped by new park space. The DWP, which must replace its above-ground reservoirs to meet federal water quality guidelines, said the rubberized cover that would float above the water would cost about $15 million. In contrast, building an underground reservoir that would allow for the creation of new park space, a plan supported by park advocates, would cost $110 million.
Members of the Citizens Committee to Save Elysian Park and other groups had argued that it would be unfair to simply cover up the Elysian Reservoir when the DWP has approved the building of costly underground storage tanks to preserve the Silver Lake reservoirs, which will no longer store drinking water but will remain uncovered.
In addition to covering Elysian Reservoir with a rubber cover, the DWP will also spend about $3.5 million in improvements to the surrounding park, including planting new trees, improving trails and bathroom facilities and building a new water line. Also the DWP also will establish a $12.5 million park improvement fund.
Located about half mile north of Dodger Stadium, the approximately seven-acre Elysian Reservoir _-which supplies water to about 285,000 people in Downtown Los Angeles, Chinatown, Echo Park, Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, and Mount Washington – fills a canyon next to the 110 Freeway.