Sculpture of Roman god OK

DOWNEY - An 8-ft. tall fiberglass sculpture has gained City Council approval to be erected outside a shopping strip on Lakewood Boulevard.The sculpture by Downey-based artist Jameel Haiat portrays the Roman god Neptune wrapped in a tarp and gripping a trident. It will be constructed of fiberglass and maintain a rough texture to mimic the feel of traditional stone, according to a report given to the Council. The sculpture, named "Reveal," represents "the birth of culture and the loss of culture," Haiat said. Louie Christopolous applied to install the art piece outside a retail center he developed at 9637 Lakewood Blvd., south of Gallatin Road. A conception was approved by an advisory committee in August, although the Council maintains final say on all artwork placed through the city's Art in Public Places program. The program is funded by a 1 percent fee levied on local large-scale development projects. The city's building and safety department still needs to sign off on the sculpture. Wording on an adjoining plaque has not been specified. Haiat's work has been prominently featured at Disneyland, Universal Studios and Legoland. In other action, the Council: •Proclaimed October and November as National Breast Cancer Awareness and End Domestic Violence months; •Approved warrants totaling approximately $3.72 million; •Adopted a resolution supporting redevelopment of the former Verizon building as an affordable housing project; •Authorized $28,500 to complete the addition of a fitness room at Fire Station No. 4 at 9349 Florence Ave. The new 340-sq. ft. room will be attached to the east side of the apparatus floor and clear the rest of the station from fitness clutter. The city's Public Works Maintenance Division will work on the project, with fire department personnel providing most of the labor; •Filed a state-mandated city progress report prepared by the Planning Commission. The report summarizes the city's progress on goals, policies and programs, both past and present. •Approved a new labor agreement with the Downey City Employees' Association - Maintenance Unit, representing 51 currently-filled positions. The one-year contract does not include increases in salary or benefits, but modifies the language for Safety Work Boot Allowance. The annual allowance is set at $200 for employees who work on the parks, streets, mechanics, water distribution and water supply crews. All other field crew employees receive $160 per year. Any unused allowance may now be used for shoe care and maintenance products, including repellent sprays, polish, shoelaces and insoles; •Approved an agreement to keep Jeff Turner as fire chief but on a part-time basis, effective Jan. 1; •Waived parking requirements for Icon's Café at 8237-8239 2nd St., which is planning to operate a new restaurant and nightclub. The establishment has been approved for live music and is allowed to be open Sunday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to midnight and Friday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. the following morning. "It is staff's opinion that the restaurant/nightclub is a desired land use for the downtown area since [it] provides daytime customers to the area and a destination use in the nighttime," Community Development Director Gilbert Livas wrote in a report. Under current code guidelines, Icon's Café would have needed to create 18 new parking spaces. Customers of the restaurant and nightclub will be expected to use existing parking structures and lots. "Staff is committed to facilitating high quality businesses and more intense land uses in the downtown area," Livas wrote. "One of the ways to accomplish this, both for challenging sites and to encourage changes of land use and the recycling of older-stock buildings, is to encourage developers and architects to entitle downtown development projects using offsite public parking resources, when appropriate and readily accessible."; •Established interim hours for the Columbia Memorial Space Center (Thursday through Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.), admission fees ($5 per person), and gift shop prices (cost plus 50 to 200 percent). The fees and hours are temporary until the center is fully operational. In the meantime, a subcommittee of councilmen David Gafin and Roger Brossmer will examine costs for space center memberships, room rentals and more; •Issued a 45-day moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries; •Authorized the mayor to send a letter supporting the county's application for a grant specified for tobacco control and obesity prevention; •On a 3-2 vote, chose Dec. 8 as the date when the city's next mayor will be sworn into office; The next regular public meeting of the Downey City Council will be held Nov. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall.

********** Published: November 13, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 30