DOWNEY - On a 3-2 vote, the City Council on Tuesday renamed Clark Avenue to Columbia Way, a posthumous recognition to the seven astronauts who died on the Space Shuttle Columbia.Columbia Way will stretch from Lakewood Boulevard south to the city's border at Foster Road. Councilman Roger Brossmer and Mayor Pro Tem Anne Bayer cast dissenting votes. Brossmer cited the "hassle-factor" involved to citizens. "With the naming of the building (Columbia Memorial Space Center) we've done a lot as far as honoring the astronauts lost in the tragedy," he said. Bayer did not comment on her vote. According to a report prepared by deputy city manager Desi Alvarez, 57 properties with Clark Avenue addresses will be directly impacted by the name change. Of those properties, 47 are residential and the rest are commercial, places of worship or public spaces. Forty-six properties participated in a survey last week, and 18 property and business owners (or 62 percent) declared their support for the name change, according to the results of a city survey. Eleven properties and businesses were against it. "As a representative government, we need to look after what our residents want," said Councilman David Gafin. Mayor Mario Guerra said he likes that the Clark Avenue street name will change as motorists enter Downey from Bellflower. "It distinguishes that you're now in Downey," Guerra said, adding that the name-change was "not PR, it's part of our roots." Three residents spoke out against the name-change Tuesday, including a woman who said she was a 38-year resident on Clark Avenue. She said it would be an inconvenience to have to change her personal information, including her driver's license and billing information. Gafin lobbied for the city to create an "outreach program" to assist residents with the transition. The cost to replace the street signs is estimated at about $3,500.
********** Published: October 23, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 27