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.

Downey brought back the Holiday Home Decorating Contest for 2013, the contest was discontinued in 2012 due to financial situation in the city according to Mayor Mario Guerra during the awards ceremony on Monday evening at city hall.

The city council presented awards to residents of each district area.

List of winners below from each district area

Area One Winners

Best Use of Lights

  • Best Overall – 8602 Nada St. (Kniep)
  • Honorable Mention – 8503 Dalen St. (Edilberto Serna)

Best Lawn Display

  • Best Overall – 8535 Fontana St. (Emmett Fletcher and Stephanie Shue)
  • Honorable Mention -12903 Airpoint Ave (Saul Cerrillos)

Best Religious Display

  • Best Overall – 12246 Eastbrook Ave (Steve and Linda Jones)

Christmas Tree Window Display

  • Best Overall – 9006 Margaret St. (Larry and Hartini Cruz)
  • Honorable Mention – 12049 Patton Rd. (David Batres)

Mayor’s Award – 8402 Conklin St. (Michael Contreras and Louise Herrera)


Area Two Winners

Best Use of Lights

  • Best Overall – 7619 Nada St. (Boyle Family)
  • Honorable Mention – 7826 Devenir Ave (Jesus Guzman)

Best Lawn Display

  • Best Overall – 7414 Luxor St. (Daniel and Krystle Richard)
  • Honorable Mention – 7852 Brookmill Rd. (Jose Lanfranco)

Most Energy Efficient

  • Best Overall – 7920 Melva St. (Larry Osterhoudt)
  • Honorable Mention – 7964 Borson St. (Pat and John Ruth)

Best Religious Display

  • Best Overall – 7614 Yankey St. (Gilbert Family)
  • Honorable Mention – 11603 Haro Ave (Jose Donaoh)

Winter Wonderland

  • Best Overall – 12065 S. Gurley Ave. (Adrian Hernandez)

Most Original Holiday Display

  • Best Overall – 12353 Horley Ave (Lance and Michelle Laven)
  • Honorable Mention – 7453 Benares St. (Raquel Vargas Avila)

Christmas Tree Window Display

  • Best Overall – 7104 Nada St. (Albert and Cecile Mendoza)

Mayor’s Award – 12023 Morning Ave. (Luis Carrillo)


Area Three Winners

Best Use of Lights

  • Best Overall – 7629 4th Place (Kym Gomez)
  • Honorable Mention – 7359 Via Rio Nido (David Rivas)

Best Lawn Display

  • Best Overall – 9912 Norlian Ave (Sandy Richard)

Most Energy Efficient

  • Best Overall – 7827 8th St (Ruben and Anne Rojes)

Winter Wonderland

  • Best Overall – 10324 Pomering Rd. (Torres Family)
  • Honorable Mention – 9922 Norlian Ave ( Dan Lorenzetti)

Most Original Holiday Display

  • Best Overall – 10318 Pomering Rd. (Gabriel Covarrubias)
  • Honorable Mention – 7521 Cleargrove Dr. (Cerna Murillo)

Christmas Tree Window Display

  • Best Overall – 8125 7th St Apt. A (Silverio and Tina Rojas)

Mayor’s Award – 7504 Muller St. (Carl and Maggie Jackson)


Area Four Winners

Best Use of Lights

  • Best Overall – 8537 Via Amorita ( Boyd S. Horan Jr.)
  • Honorable Mention – 9444 Sideview Dr. ( Elizabeth Frometa)

Best Lawn Display

  • Best Overall – 8517 Lubec St. (Ana Salvador)
  • Honorable Mention – 9906 Brookshire Ave. (Manny Sandate and Martha Hernandez)

Best Religious Display

  • Best Overall – 10221 Newville Ave. (Irma and David Mesa)

Santa’s Workshop

  • Best Overall – 10945 Hasty Ave. (Mike Boyd)
  • Honorable Mention – 8564 Suva St. (Robin and Andrew Smith)

Winter Wonderland

  • Best Overall – 9384 Suva St. (Jim and Melissa Barger)

Most Original Holiday Display

  • Best Overall – 10903 Hasty Ave. ( DeAnna and Randy Moyes)
  • Honorable Mention – 8358 Lubec St. (Kandy and David Grzebyk)

Christmas Tree Window Display

  • Best Overall – 11018 Marbel Ave. (Reno and Jeanne Earwood)
  • Honorable Mention – 9220 Arrington (Margaret Perez)

Mayor’s Award – 10257 Mattock Ave (Messer-Hughes Family)

During a one-week online survey on Downey’s Historical Relevance for my capstone project on The Past and Future of Historical Preservation Efforts and Awareness of Historic Events and Sites in the City of Downey, California 26 participated in the survey.

The results were interesting as to what people felt personally about saving historical sites and how they felt the city is responsible for keeping the historic parts of the city.

Participants who answered the survey primarily were in the age groups 25 to 34 (42 percent) and 55-64 (27 percent) and have been residents of the city of Downey between 15-35 years.

As a result, Baby Boomers and Generation Y have invested interest in preservation of the city’s historical places. From this we can assume that children of Baby Boomers grew up going to the various historical places in the city and their parents’ value preservation.

Both women and men participated almost equally in the survey. Men showed higher involvement in the survey with 54 percent of those surveyed being men and 46 percent being women.

Response showed that 23 out of 26 participants feel that the city of Downey is responsible to preserve and maintain the historical places

Response showed that 23 out of 26 participants feel that the city of Downey is responsible to preserve and maintain the historical places

An overwhelming 92 percent of participants felt that the city is responsible for preserving and maintaining the historical places.

However when it came to involvement of participating in a community preservation group or attending city council meeting, 85 percent said they were not involved in any group but they do care about preservation of places in the city.

A list of some of the most popular historical places was given to participants to find out which places they have visited. All participants have visited the World’s Oldest Operating McDonald’s that is located on Lakewood Boulevard and Florence Avenue in the city. Second most visited place is Johnie’s Broiler, now Bob’s Big Boy Broiler after rebuild and restoration. The Avenue movie theater and Rives Mansion were among popular places participants had visited. All places on the list were visited by at least four of the participants.

Downey's Historical Relevance results of survey

Downey’s Historical Relevance results of survey

There were 69 percent of those surveyed felt that if the city were to market the historical places the city would see an increase in tourism and economic impact for the city.

When it came to do participants feel the city is doing enough to protect and preserve historical places in the city 69 percent said no, the they need to be doing more while 19 percent were not sure.

During the survey, I discovered a few new groups that are active in the city and the preservation movement. I am planning on connecting with the groups soon and continue to gather more information about preservation in the city of Downey and future efforts on projects.

The survey results provided a good insight for the continuation of the capstone project and gave some new avenues for story ideas as far as why residents care about preservation but are not involved with any community group that helps protect places. I think conducting another survey about why people get involved or do not get involved in preservation efforts would be a good to see what residents are feeling about the involvement in their community.


Everyone has a hometown, a birthplace just like a city is founded, and we as a people have a place we call home that is unique to us. The city’s culture, area, lifestyles and economics don’t differ from most cities but its what has happened here that makes Downey rich in history for the city and nation.

Downey, California is that hometown, a place unique with a vast past and a future geared toward expansion.

Over the last twenty years, the City of Downey has seen some of its most historic places lost, saved or in jeopardy of demolition.

There are several movements by residents and preservationists to keep the city’s unique and historic places intact so that Downey’s history will not fall away and be forgotten.

By taking the survey about Downey’s Historical Relevance, it will help with feedback for the capstone project on The Past and Future of Historical Preservation Efforts and Awareness of Historic Events and Sites in the City of Downey, California

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

In conclusion, the feedback from the survey will help establish what is important to those who took the survey and what type of direction the capstone project may take as it moves forward in the process.

The survey will give an understanding about the community, its involvement in the preservation efforts and action that needs to be taken. It will help confirm the feelings of the community about current issues with preservation and how the city is either supporting or not supporting those issues.

A $9.8 million deal was reached with Downey City Council and Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital for the purchase and sale agreement of the property that Downey Regional Medical Center located on at the city council meeting on Tuesday evening.

The sale will need to be approved by the California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris office and the sale expected to be finalized in September. The city currently owns the land that the hospital is on.

In regards to the tentative deal with PIH Health, Alex Saab, councilman who represents district 5 in Downey was reassured with the deal.

“It’s reassuring, the hospital had some major problems and serious concerns for a number of years. The fact the PIH has had experience running a successful hospital in Whittier, Calif. and they realize the potential in Downey is reassuring for us and residents,” Saab said.

The city’s agreement was approved unanimously by city council with two abstentions by Mayor Mario Guerra and Mayor Pro Tem Fernando Vasquez due to conflict of interest in the vote.

The agreement comes four years after Downey Regional Medical Center filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009. PIH Health took over the management of the hospital in June of this year.

The land is currently being leased by Downey Regional Medical Center for one dollar.

According to Saab, the city council wanted to make sure that Downey still had a hospital with an emergency room. That was the intent of leasing the land for one dollar and to make sure they could still be open.

Though PIH Health will soon own the property, there are some assurances that it will remain a hospital and medical use property.

“We thought long and hard about safeguards to protect it as a hospital. We placed some restrictions on land use and we still control the zoning for the property,” he said.

The agreement states that the use of the property shall be restricted to hospital use until 2030. The property then will be still restricted to hospital and medical use but no longer has to be a hospital if PIH Health decided to change it.

During public comments before the vote, residents expressed concern for making sure the property remained a hospital and was available to residents and not become office space.

He added that PIH Health is planning on investing millions into the property, retrofit, and buildings. “If they were not intending the land to be used and serviced as a hospital they would not be investing millions into the land.”

So what is to become of the $9.8 million that Downey will receive as revenue for the sale?

“Personally, I would like to see a significant amount go into the reserves and the other portion to improving the city’s infrastructure, parks and hiring of police officers,” Saab said.

Saab would like to see the city do something tangible with a portion of funds.

While nothing is set in stone, he encourages all residents that are interested in DRMC or about the revenue to use the non-agenda public comment time at city council meetings to share ideas, thoughts and opinions with the council.

“There is no rush to spend the revenue. We will need thoughtful community input when the time comes,” Saab said.

Downey Regional Medical Center is located at 11500 Brookshire Avenue. Downey, Calif.

Photo Gallery of Downey’s first National Night Out event

Helmet giveaway and free child fingerprinting services were among the most popular booths at Downey’s first National Night Out event in Downey, Calif. on Tuesday, Aug. 6 at the city’s civic center.

Downey partnered with the city’s police department to host the city’s first National Night Out event. Downey’s community, government and safety organizations participated and promoted community awareness of programs, service groups, health and safety organizations and healthy living.

Stone Soul brings soul music to Downey’s Twilight Summer Concert from Alicia Edquist on Vimeo.

Soul music filled the air during the annual Twilight Summer Concerts in Furman Park in Downey, Calif. on Wednesday evening.

More than 300 concertgoers filled the park to listen, dance and groove to music by Stone Soul who played classic soul and Motown music. Residents from not only Downey, but also surrounding cities came for the concerts.

Karina’s Journey: Seeking and Discovering God from Alicia Edquist on Vimeo.

Growing up in a broken home and getting into trouble was not the way Karina Serrano, 20 years old, imaged in her life as a child.

She grew up in San Bernardino, Calif. in a non-Christian home with her mom, step father and half brothers and sisters. All she wanted was a fresh start after years of trouble and brokenness through her youth and school years.

It wasn’t until moving after her freshman year to a new school that she found the fresh start she was looking for and a neighboring church next to the school to begin seeking God.

Shop American Saturday at Crafted from Alicia Edquist on Vimeo.

Locals and tourists came to visit the first “Shop American Saturday” event at Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, Calif. on Saturday that promoted buying American made goods from the marketplace.

Still in its infancy and only a year old, Crafted is a marketplace in old renovated World War II-era warehouses next to the port that is open to the public. The marketplace is for shoppers to shop for American made goods all year and a place for small business crafters to find a place they call home.


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