DOWNEY— A 20-acre rail yard northeast of Gardendale Street and Garfield Avenue may not be the “highest and best use of the property,” but the decision is up to Los Angeles County, which owns the land at Downey’s southwest corner.
Those were the comments of the Downey City Council Nov. 14 as it formally received and filed a report from Mayor Pro Tem Sean Ashton on a proposal from the Eco Rapid Transit Board. Ashston represents Downey on the 13-city, Paramount-based board, which plans a commuter rail line on Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way through the communities from Artesia to Union Station in Los Angeles.
Ashton said the report was informational and he had no strong feelings either way.
The sparsely developed property is part of the 80-acre south campus of Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center on Imperial Highway. The county, which in September announced a $468 million development plan for the south property, is considering the request, Ashton told council.
The south campus is not part of the $418 million expansion of the hospital complex, now under way, north of Imperial.
Ashton said the potential site, to be used for storage of rail cars and their maintenance, is north of the intersection of Garfield and Gardendale, where Eco Rapid proposes a transit station. A benefit would be highly paid jobs for skilled workers in the yard plus during the construction process.
Downey has been promised a say in the development, which will primarily include office space, including some for county agencies and light industrial.
However, the city has been promised a five-acre sports complex on the site and that the county would seek a new location for the private Downey Rose Float Association, which builds the city float for the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena on New Year’s Day.
Ashton said two other sites for the rail yard have been proposed.
Bellflower officials have rejected use of what is now Hollywood Sports Park southeast of Lakewood and Somerset boulevards. The theme park is doing well and there are no plans to sell the site, Bellflower officials said.
A third more likely site, is an industrial area along the border of South Gate and Cudahy, Ashton said.
In other action Nov. 14, the council:
- Appointed Maria Alicia Duarte to the vacant position of city clerk. Duarte has been serving as interim city clerk for several months,. She had previously been assistant city clerk and came to Downey from Lynwood earlier this year.
- Hired Williams Pipeline Contractors to install new water lines along Firestone Boulevard between Old River School Road and the west city limits for $1.1 million.