Mayor's Corner: Downey staying busy this summer

Hello Downey,

Summer is in full swing and with the days longer and the children out of school, it is a perfect time to relax and enjoy our beautiful Southern California weather. But not us here at City Hall, your municipal government is busy working on continuing to improve the life’s of all our residents by running an efficient government. We continue to meet our goals and even exceed them.

One of the examples of that is the City’s recent accomplishments in being the recipient of the Certificate of Achievement in Financial Reporting. The award, given by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA), is for the City’s comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting. Its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. The CAFR Award is the third financial achievement award the City has received in less than six months. It demonstrates Downey’s strong commitment to fiscal responsibility and transparency.  

The City of Downey is doing its part in conserving water during this historic drought. City watering has been adjusted to just 2 days per week. Selected areas will be removed and replaced with drought tolerant landscaping. At the City Council meeting on June 9, I along with my council colleagues passed the Water Conservation Urgency Ordinance that took effect immediately to comply with the Governor’s mandated water restrictions. All residents and local business were notified about the Urgency Notice via letter, which explains the new restrictions. The information can be found on the City’s website along with tips on how to save water. The city will lead by example but just as critical are the actions that you take. I urge all residents to become a part of the water conservation movement.

While we are on the subject about water, I would like to stress the importance about pool safety. First and foremost, it’s important to stay vigilant at all times when children are in or near a pool or spa. It is vital that children be able to swim before they enter the water. Swimming lessons for children provide the skills and knowledge that are necessary to be safer in the water. Drownings and close calls are eight times more likely to happen to kids who can’t swim. Making sure pools and spas have secure fencing or are covered is an important safety step. There are several types of alarms – door, pool and gate – that sound to alert if a child has entered the pool area.  Knowing CPR could save a life. For more tips and information about Pool Safety, please visit our city website.

In conjunction with the Downey Chamber of Commerce, the City will be hosting the Small Business Focus workshop. This will be a six-week event commencing on July 16. Topics will vary from how to Start a Small Business to Lease Negotiation. Courses are designed to be hands-on and will be taught by local business owners who serve as experts in their respective fields. Registration and pricing information can be found on the Downey Chamber of Commerce website. 

The Downey City Library’s Million Minute Challenge is off to a great start. More than 700 people came to the first program. It is not too late to sign up and get your punch card to enter into weekly drawings for attending events at the library and in the community, as well as for the minutes read in the summer. Every Monday at 2:30 pm there are free shows at the Downey Theatre. Other activities include a “Name Your Hero” essay contest, movie screenings, and a mini comi-con. Come check out the library! 

If you have not done so already, please visit the Barbara J. Riley Community & Senior Center and see all the resources that are available. The Center is specifically designed for adults 50 and over and features a selection of cardiovascular and strength-training equipment including treadmills, lifecycles and a variety of free weights.  There is a variety of classes and free services available such as driver renewal courses, legal assistance, blood pressure clinic and Medicare assistance. More information is posted on the city website or you can call (562) 904-7223.

Improvements and renovations are underway at two of our City’s parks. The Rio San Gabriel Playground will be receiving new equipment including a new enclosed swing and new walking trails that will lead to the north ball diamond and a dog park. Anticipated opening is this summer. Temple Park will also be receiving a new playground.  There will be new slides and a new swing set. The Dedication Ceremony is scheduled for July 7 at 5 pm. Bring your family and be the first to play on the new playground! 

Our auto dealers are on the move! Penske Toyota is undergoing a complete façade renovation and an interior remodel to the showroom and offices. Champion Dodge also is undergoing a complete building remodel. The site has demolished the existing 5,000 square foot showroom and a new 16,000 square foot showroom and office will take its place. Downey Nissan has submitted plans to construct a new 49,000 square foot building on the northeast corner of Firestone Blvd and Old River School Rd. This new facility is larger than their existing facility and will include an office, showroom, repair shop, and vehicle display area.

Giant RV will soon join the Downey business family.  Plans have been submitted to locate an RV sales and service dealer at the former Sam’s Club site. The existing building will be used as a showroom, will house offices, and have a service shop. Also there will be a display area in the parking lot.  

On Tuesday, Aug. 4, the Downey Police Department will host the City’s 3rd annual National Night Out celebration from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Downey Civic Center. National Night Out is a unique community event celebrated across the United States the first Tuesday in August every year. It is designed to heighten crime prevention awareness, generate support for and participation in local crime prevention programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit and build police-community partnerships. Downey’s National Night Out event will promote community awareness by sharing information regarding crime prevention and community resources. It will feature children’s activities, community information booths, food, drinks and family fun. 
For additional information, please contact Jennifer Burkhardt at (562) 904-2374 or via email at

As you may know our City has been officially selected to participate in the 2015 Special Olympics World Games Host Town program from July 21 – 24. Before the World Games begin on July 25, more than 7,000 athletes from 177 countries will be welcomed to Southern California through the Host Town program. The City of Downey will host a Special Olympics delegation (which includes athletes and coaches) from Ireland as part of the Special Olympics World Games Host Town program. 

The delegation will spend July 21-24 in and around Downey as they become acclimated to the time zone, enjoy activities that Downey has to offer and prepare to compete at the World Games. The official Welcome Ceremony Concert will be on July 22 at 7 pm at the Downey Civic Center. There will be a series of live performances, food trucks, arts & crafts and sponsorship information booths. I hope you join me welcoming our Irish delegates. 

As mayor, public safety in the City of Downey is a top priority. Every year preventable injuries occur due to illegal fireworks and improper use of Safe and Sane fireworks. “Safe and Sane” refers to fireworks that do not fly or explode. Fireworks bearing the “Safe and Sane” logo may be discharged from 4 p.m. to midnight on July 4 only. The Downey Police Department in partnership with the Downey Fire Department will be out in the community proactively enforcing all local state laws in effort to ensure a safe holiday celebration. The City has a “zero tolerance” toward the use or possession of illegal fireworks. Fines begin at $2,000 for a first offense and increase up to $3,000 thereafter.  

As always, the City Council welcomes your comments, concerns, or questions. You can reach me or any other council member by calling (562) 904-7274, or by using the links to our email addresses located on the “Mayor & City Council” page of the City website at  
I wish all Downey residents and safe and happy Independence Day! 

Until next month, 
Mayor Luis H. Marquez