Herald American

New Bellflower event center plans outdoor wedding venue

BELLFLOWER — Couples getting married may have their wedding banquet in the new 300-seat Mayne Events Center, 16400 Bellflower Blvd., but by late this year they also may choose to speak their vows in an outdoor setting just north of the two-story facility.

“About 73 percent of the weddings we cater choose to have their wedding ceremony at the (banquet) site, not in a church,” said George Marinos, whose firm has been chosen as the caterer for the 300-seat banquet room on the second floor of the municipal facility.

Marinos, who said he has been in the catering business for 18 years; and Pubic Works Director Len Gorecki presented their plan for an outdoor wedding venue to the City Council in a special meeting Feb. 12.

The council voted 3-0 to allow them to proceed with the plan for the Historic Depot Plaza with Mayor Ron Schnablegger and Councilman Sonny Santa Ines absent.

Gorecki said he will go out for bids this spring with construction expected to begin this summer and be completed in about 90 days.

City Manager Jeff Stewart said the project, which calls for landscaping, decorative pavement and lighting, would cost about $400, 000. The plaza will be next to the $9 million, two-story, 24,000-square-foot event center east of the adjoining historic depot.

Marinos said there would be seating for about 100 with the ceremony conducted on a platform and in front of a backdrop which on one side will depict an interior wall with a fireplace but can be flipped around to depict an outdoor scene.

He said the wedding area will be hidden from Bellflower Boulevard so as not to affect the historic significance of the depot, which served the city until the 1960s taking passengers to Los Angeles Union Station on the old electric red car route.

Councilman Juan Garza said he was concerned that a passing train might disturb weddings. An electric commuter train operation is planned in several years on the now abandoned Southern Pacific railroad tracks on the north side of the depot.

Stewart said the city will work with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority on when the trains would be scheduled.

The Mayne Events Center opened for business with a formal ribbon cutting Jan. 25 and has several events planned in March, including a bar mitzvah, a city spokesperson said.

The Los Angeles County Firemen’s Association will operate a fire museum displaying antique fire-fighting equipment on the ground flood of the center. That is expected to open to the public in July.

The event center is named for the adjoining Mayne Street, which in turn was named for T. Mayne Thompson, Bellflower’s first mayor when the city incorporated in 1957.

The State of the City Luncheon is set for Feb. 22 at the center. Admission is $20. Information: (562) 804-1424, ext. 2267.

In other action Feb. 12, the council set a public hearing for its meeting Feb. 26 to make some changes to its marijuana law.

They include allowing holders of the 10 marijuana operation permits awarded in December to sell or transfer their permit to someone meeting strict qualifications. Stewart stressed that the number of medical marijuana dispensaries will remain at four. The other permits are for transportation, manufacturing or cultivation.

Council members said they would not approve requests for dispensaries to transfer permits from medical marijuana to recreational use.

Also, permits for manufacturing or cultivating cannabis may be 500 feet from another marijuana facility if the operation is in an enclosed building and generates little traffic. A third change would allow the city to consider civil violations as well as criminal ones in issuing future permits.

Of the four medical marijuana permits approved, two have not yet applied for the mandatory state license and one is on hold pending proceedings in Los Angeles Superior Court in March for alleged marijuana distribution violations there.

Council members directed city staff to add time limits for permit holders to begin operations, to be reviewed Feb. 26.