A Report From The Silver Lake Reservoir Master Plan Community Workshop #1

Past community meetings regarding the Silver Lake Reservoir have been contentious, but you wouldn’t know it from our recent community workshop on June 27th.

Attended by over 100 people and deftly organized by Hargreaves Associates and The Robert Group, concerned and civically engaged Silver Lakers came together to work on this important project. They did not agree on everything, but they did agree on some things:

– Respect toward one another
– Civility and listening in discussion
– To make sure that everyone’s voice was heard

The evening started with an introduction by Hargreaves Associates where they shared some examples of their previous work (check out http://www.hargreaves.com/) and talked about their approach to the Silver Lake Reservoir project. They emphasized aesthetic, function, and respect for wildlife and the environment. They spoke of their dedication to listening to the community and they detailed the approximately two-year timeline for the master plan process. This meeting would be the first of six community workshops over the next two years.

Then the Master Plan Working Group was introduced. The Working Group consists of five Silver Lake organizations: Silver Lake Neighborhood Council, Silver Lake Reservoir Conservancy, Silver Lake Wildlife Sanctuary, Silver Lake Forward, and Silver Lake Now. Each group has 1-2 representatives who join the DWP, Bureau of Engineering, Hargreaves, The Robert Group, Chee Salette, and CD13 representatives in an in-depth and ongoing discussion of the project. Each Silver Lake organization was given two minutes to present their organization’s values and goals for the Silver Lake Reservoir.

The community members in attendance were broken into approximately twenty tables of between 5-8 people. The tables were randomly assigned and as a result represented a diverse range of opinions and demographics. Each table had a map of the reservoir and red and green post-it notes. First everyone was asked to write their concerns on red post-it notes and place it on the map. Then everyone was asked to write down opportunities they saw for the reservoir on green post-it notes and place them on the map. Everyone was also given a short survey that asked about concerns, opportunities, and examples of favorite parks around the world. (The Neighborhood Council has copies of this survey available for community members who were not in attendance.)

The night concluded with each table briefly presenting their process, discussion, and reservoir map. Nearly every map had an almost equal number of red and green post-its and it was clear that there is still much work to be done to find consensus.

What was also clear, however, is that the community took a giant step forward in creating a new way to go about this process. It’s a new day in Silver Lake.

You can view the presentation that was given at this meeting by visiting this link.