As the developers of The Promenade begin to clear the area of the NASA site for construction, residents are continuing to be hopeful that the NASA site’s historic history will not fade away in Downey, California.

Larry Latimer, vice president for the Downey Historical Society and the Aerospace Legacy Foundation sees opportunity for to be done from the city side of saving Downey’s space history and other important sites.

Latimer recalls when Roger Brossmer, current council member, who was mayor at the time became very interested in what the Aerospace Legacy Foundation was doing as well the Columbia Memorial Space Center. According to Latimer, after Brossmer left the mayor’s seat there was not much interest from the city in working toward preserving space history.

However, he is optimistic that after talks with the developers of the site that the space history is important to them and will make efforts to include the history into the shopping center. Even though all the structures on the NASA site are gone with the exception of the Kaufman Wing, Latimer hopes that a portion of the wing will become a visitors’ center for the NASA and aviation history.

When it comes to preservation, “Downey has been a city government that does not get involved. They leave it to community groups to try and preserve sites in the city,” he said.

“One of my biggest gripes with the city is that they don’t allocate money for historic preservation or support efforts,” Latimer said.

Latimer shares concern like some residents in the community about the Columbia Memorial Space Center’s management issues. Currently, the center is being run by the city and is struggling with running the center. The city is looking for someone outside the city to partner with them like the Smithsonian or aerospace industry.

“It’s a great place and it’s been so awesome. I am confident in the city in the long run,” he said.

“Month after month, you see city council people come to the center because they want to show it off and take photo opportunities. It’s time to stop doing the photo ops and start getting the center back on its feet,” he said.

He also would love to see the space shuttle mock-up be restored because people would be able to get in it. “What a learning experience that would be for a child,” he said.

He believes that the city could do more with the public arts funds that they have and use it toward funding things at historic sites.

Though he likes what the owners of Stay Gallery, he feels like the city should be investing public arts funds into historic preservation for the city.

“Priorities in this city are not preservation,” Latimer said.

He feels that more people need to get involved with preserving the history in Downey. “Residents can speak out more at city council meetings, write letters to The Downey Patriot, spread the word about visiting the historic places and join the groups in Downey that are involved with historic preservation,” Latimer said.

“We need to get more people to follow through in city government about the Columbia Memorial Space Center and get the right people involved to sustain the center for the community,” he said.

Latimer believes that the city needs leadership and need the city council and the mayor to take responsibility for the historic places and the CMSC.

“I am disappointed that they are not the ones speaking out the most when it comes to historic preservation and the center, none of them will and its sad that no one will speak out on saving historic places around here,” he said.