Federal funds earmarked for space center

DOWNEY -- The Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey has received $700,000 in federal funding to complete a new exhibit, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-34) announced Wednesday.The spending measure approved by Congress this week allocates millions of dollars to local communities for projects ranging from health care and drug prevention to job training and gang reduction. "The legislation helps families access quality and affordable health care. It invests in our children by funding K-12 education and assisting families to pay for college," Roybal-Allard said. "Especially urgent during these tough times, the measure also helps workers train and secure good jobs in safe work environments." The Space Center will use the money to build interactive educational exhibits "to enhance the understanding of space-related sciences and to highlight the value of technologies developed through the space program, while inspiring and educating the next generation of scientists and engineers." Jon Betthauser, executive director of the center, spoke at the California Historical Society symposium held in Downey last week. He told the group he was preparing to approach the City Council on March 24 and ask for money needed to operate the center. While the center will rely heavily on volunteers and local students, regular employees still need to be hired, Betthauser said. The center was scheduled to open last month, but the grand opening has been postponed indefinitely. ********** Published: March 13, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 47