Mayor’s Corner: news and updates from Downey’s mayor

Mayor Fernando Vasquez thanks a veteran for his military service at a Veterans Day ceremony last week.

Mayor Fernando Vasquez thanks a veteran for his military service at a Veterans Day ceremony last week.

Hello Downey! It’s great to connect with you once again through my Mayor’s Corner article. I hope you find these articles to be informative and that you enjoy getting updates on City news and projects.  If you have a specific question about our City or would like more information on a specific program or project, please feel free to contact me directly and I will be more than happy to share that information and even include it in my next month’s article.

Let me first start off by congratulating our City’s Parks and Recreation Department for putting together some amazing events these past few weeks.  The third and last Rooftop Concert, themed “Havana Nights,” was a huge success and by far had the largest crowd in attendance. Close to 2,500 joined us that night! Our residents enjoyed great Cuban food and live salsa music throughout the night, and it was great to see so many people celebrating the rich diversity we have in our community.

The Dia De Los Muertos Art Festival held last month was also a big success, drawing close to 10,000 people from around the area.  Visitors enjoyed exhibitions by local artists, folklorico and bolero music, altar viewings, food, and even a beer and wine garden.  This event has definitely become a community favorite (and one of mine) and we’re hoping to make this an annual event for years to come.  These events, along with so many others throughout the year, would not be possible without the hard work of our Parks & Recreation department and I want to especially thank Parks & Recreation Director Arlene Salazar for leading such an amazing team!

I encourage you to go check out Furman Park’s new walking trail, which we just dedicated two weeks ago.  I’m sure many of you agree that a trail has been much needed at this park and we’re excited to finally have one!  Apollo Park will also be getting a new walking trail in the next few months and we’ll provide more information as we approach completion.  The construction of these trails is made possible through a $600,000 grant the City received from the L.A. County Regional Park and Open Space District.

One of my goals as Mayor has been to embrace new technology in order to better serve our community. And we’re on our way with the newly launched online business registration system on our City website.  Now businesses will have the opportunity to apply and pay for business licenses directly through our City’s website, without having to take a trip to City Hall.  Our goal is to make it as easy and convenient as possible for local business owners to do business with us.  We will still be offering in-person business registration at City Hall for those who wish to come in directly.

If you haven’t checked it out already, we recently also launched a “Tools for Business” system on our website, which allows businesses to conveniently access local, state and federal resources, all under one location.  Through this new site, businesses can also access information regarding hiring, training, sustainability, financing, security, and government regulation issues. Just another way to better assist our business community!

I want to congratulate Councilmember Elect Sean Ashton and State Senator Elect Tony Mendoza on their recent wins during this last election season.  I look forward to working with them to continue improving our City, region and state.  Exciting news regarding the Promenade at Downey!  At next week’s Council meeting, we will be voting on having Benihanas as one of tenants at the Promenade.  This will be just one of the many tenants that will be part of this amazing development.  More tenant announcements to come soon!

Street construction!  I’m sure you have noticed the street construction occurring throughout our City and at times it may seem slow.  Despite the unforeseen fields conditions, such as rain delay, let me assure you we’re doing everything possible to finish this project as quickly as possible.  As for the Firestone Blvd. Improvement Project, street paving between Brookshire Ave. and Myrtle St. is scheduled to be completed this week while the remaining street paving on Firestone Blvd. (between Myrtle and Old River School Rd.) is scheduled to be completed in late December.

As for the Lakewood Blvd. Improvement Project, Phase 3B (Florence Ave. to Gallatin Rd.), street paving is scheduled to occur in December 2014.

I’m also pleased to announce that the City received a $5 million grant from L.A. County Metro to perform additional construction work on Lakewood Blvd., between Gallatin Rd. and Telegraph Rd. Design work for this project is expected to take place from now until June 2015 and actual construction will begin in late 2015.

The Downey View is scheduled to open on December 1st and we’re excited to have this 50-unit, high quality housing development right in our Downtown.   Close to 1,200 applications were received from Downey and some of the criteria requirements included employment, criminal and credit background checks.  It will be a safe place to live and will add value to our Downtown area.  Some of the neat features of the Downey View are that it’s a LEED Certified building, with all environmental sustainable features.  It will also feature a Rooftop Garden that will be available for our community.

Last week I had the pleasure of leading a delegation to Guadalajara, Mexico, to renew our Sister City partnership.  Established in 1960, our Sister City relationship with Guadalajara was the first ever between the U.S. and Mexico.  I had the opportunity to meet with Guadalajara officials, including Mayor Ramiro Hernandez Garcia, and discuss cultural exchange programs between our City governments, binational economic development and business opportunities.

The holidays are just around the corner and that means our City departments are already in full planning mode for events such as the Holiday Decorating Contest, Holiday Toy Drive and Tree Lighting Ceremony.  More info to come soon! Don’t forget, you can always access our City website for upcoming City news and events.

Until next month,


Mayor Fernando Vasquez




Published: Nov. 20, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 32