Water Wheel to Pay Tribute to Los Angeles’ Past, Nurture Its Present

Kentucky Dam TurbineLos Angeles – A proposed project set for downtown Los Angeles will double as a way to irrigate a park near Chinatown and an artistic statement linking the city to its LA River history.

Lauren Bon, vice president and director of the Annenberg Foundation’s Metabolic Studio, is spearheading the installation of a 60-foot water wheel, with 30 feet visible above ground, as part of an artwork/environmental project set for a strip of land next to the Broadway bridge and over the LA River, according to Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s website.

The exact cost of the project is unknown at this time but is expected to total several million dollars by the time it is completed, according to the supervisor.  The project site is next to the Los Angeles State Historic Park and will serve as an ode to the water wheels that were a part of the city’s landscape from 1854 to 1900.

“I think it’s really critical for us to take a pause and think about our definition of the city,” Bon said in a news release. “My position is that it’s time to look at the next hundred years. This work is about saying we need to do a lot better very quickly with figuring out two things: how to retain our water and how to send the rest of it out to sea cleaner.”

The timing of construction is set to go in line with the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, which is Nov. 5, 2013.

–Photo by circulating, Flickr Creative Commons







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Melanie Johnson, a Southern California based writer, works as an editor for an online media company. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English (1997) from Cal Poly Pomona and a master’s degree in journalism (1999) from Syracuse University. Melanie has worked the bulk of her 13-year career in newspapers, including stints at the San Bernardino Sun and the Press-Enterprise in Riverside. She has covered a wide variety of beats, including city government and education. She also has worked as a freelance writer and editor.