The Westcott Reservoir is a 110-million-US-gallon (420,000 m3) reservoir serving the City of Syracuse, New York. The reservoir's location would be outside the city limits but for a gerrymandering city border that extends out to include it. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant in 2005 was to replace the deteriorated Hypalon lining; as of October 2005 the reservoir stood empty.
An open grassy hillside descends from the reservoir all around, with the north end facing onto West Genesee Street having the tallest and longest slope, popular for sledding in the winter. The reservoir is considered to be the best place for sledding in the entire Syracuse area, despite the "No Sledding" signs posted along the fence at the top of the hill. On January 10, 2009, a 12-year-old girl, Taylor Denson, was sledding down the reservoir when she couldn't stop herself and slammed head first into a parked car. She sustained severe head injuries and died 3 days later. As a result, the city of Syracuse proposed that an orange fence be put up around the reservoir to further prohibit sledding, and to keep people safe.
Hang-gliders, when the sport was new, used to test fly off the North side although there is no safe direction to go; at least one hang-glider has been seriously injured upon ensnaring in power lines over West Genesee St.
The reservoir was built in 1930.
In the 1960s and before, a flat grassy terrace that rings the reservoir about 15 feet (4.6 m) below the top, became a popular hangout area. Marijuana was occasionally smoked with some impunity there,[original research?] any law enforcement arriving would have a long steep climb and be seen from far above. A fence was erected just outside the ring roadway to prevent access around 1970. Unfortunately that also prevents use of the terrace by joggers and as a staging area for the sledding in winter. The area is also the sight of illegal joyriding for local teenagers. One teenager in particular has been seen joyriding and many are trying to find him. Many witnesses describe him as a "lumberjack figure". He drives a blue truck and many times there is an American flag coming off the back of the truck.
- Robert A. Baker, Girl hurt while sledding at Westcott Reservoir, The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), January 10, 2009
- Auburn girl dies of injuries in weekend sledding accident[permanent dead link], WSYR, Jan. 13, 2009. Web, Jan. 13, 2009.[dead link]
- http://www.city-data.com/picfilesv/picv2507.php has a picture from the South. The terrace ring is visible.
- http://newtimes.rway.com/1998/best1998/sports.htm Rated "Best Place to Sled" by a local newspaper.