Clark Avenue may be renamed

DOWNEY - The proposal to change the street name, Clark Avenue - between Lakewood Boulevard to either Imperial Highway or all the way to the city limit, Foster Road - to Columbia Way, has been derailed, at least temporarily, until Tuesday when the City Council makes a final determination at a special meeting scheduled at 6 p.m.The rationale for the proposed name change is the deep identification of the name, 'Columbia', with the Downey-built Space Shuttle Columbia, and mission, which claimed the lives of seven astronauts. Soon to have its grand opening on Clark Avenue is the new Columbia Memorial Space Center, whose name likewise honors both place and memory. Clearly, the proposed change of address that the Council considered Tuesday was also meant to perpetuate Columbia's name. The wording of the discussion was a little more circumspect: "The city of Downey wants the address of the Columbia Memorial [Space Center] to also reflect the memory of the fateful Columbia Space Shuttle mission and the seven men and women who lost their lives by renaming Clark Avenue 'Columbia Way'". Chief proponent of the name change, Mayor Mario Guerra, reported that as of 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, total e-mails he received were 44 for the name change and five against. A lively discussion ensued, with the council members putting forth strong arguments, both pro and con. Councilman David Gafin's argument that a survey of all the residents along the street (mostly single-family and multi-family properties on the west side of Clark below Lakewood, with the east side occupied by commercial and county property) was in his view called for, before a decision is made on the matter, prevailed. Gafin was mainly concerned about the "considerable inconvenience" such a move would cause. At any rate, he said, the Council owes it to its affected residents that their views be carefully canvassed first. In the end, council members agreed to enlist the assistance of Police Explorers to conduct the desired survey, the results of which will be discussed on Tuesday.

********** Published: October 16, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 26