The city of Los Angeles has rejected plans for a giant water slide event on a downtown street.
Organizers today informed those who purchased tickets to the sold-out, Sept. 28 happening that it has been canceled. The Slide the City event had received the approval of local city Councilman Jose Huizar, but the Bureau of Street Services, citing concerns by the Department of Water and Power about the use of so much water during a drought, denied organizers' application for a special event permit yesterday, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Works, which oversees Street Services, told us.
Organizers believed they had the water issue licked:
Huizar and Slide the City worked out a plan to appease critics concerned that the giant slide would be using too much precious water: After the event was over the water would be trucked to Griffith Park and used for irrigation.
That didn't stop the DWP from objecting to the slide's water use, however. “The real concern here is the event is not consistent with the seriousness of the statewide drought and water conservation,” Public Works' Tonya Durrell said.
And the Department of Recreation and Parks also weighed in negatively, she said. It was concerned about the plan to use chlorinated water on grass, plants and trees in Griffith Park.
Slide the City can appeal through the Board of Public Works, Durrell said. The event would have taken place on Temple Street, with single-slide tickets going for $15.
Rick Coca, a spokesman and top adviser to Councilman Huizar, expressed some confidence that the issues could be worked out and that a slide event could happen in the future.
“We'll continue to support them as long as they can work out a water reuse program,” Coca said.
Organizer T.R. Gourley said the firm would proceed with its other big-slide events throughout the country this fall and then come back to the city in November and try to work things out. He didn't preclude doing a slide event in fall, winter or spring in Los Angeles.
Today Slide the City sent an email out to L.A. ticket-holders, who have been offered refunds:
After tirelessly working with the City over the past 2+ months we received word that our permit is being denied. We have been working even harder over the past few days to resolve any issues the City may have but it appears there is no resolution. Whether this is a direct result of the drought or something else, we want to assure all of our participants and vendors that we have gone through every appropriate permitting step required. We have even jumped through many additional “hoops” the City has created in the hope that they would see that we were flexible and willing to work with them. Unfortunately they have still denied our permit.
Huizar's office, which was clearly miffed after the office of Mayor Eric Garcetti organized a huge concert on the streets of the councilman's district without bringing him in on the planning, would not address whether or not this week's denial was payback for Huizar's criticism of the two-day Made in America festival in August.
We reached out to the mayor's office for comment but had yet to hear back.
Organizer Gourley was upbeat when we spoke to him, however. “It's not a big deal,” he said, “—we weren't curing cancer.”