LYNWOOD — The City Council has scaled back a $126,000 proposal to celebrate Lynwood's 70th anniversary, opting for a more modest event that will feature a parade.
Council members Monday voted unanimously to trim $85,000 from a proposed celebration budget that would have included possible big-name entertainers, an expensive advertising campaign and the paving of a parking lot.
Instead, the council decided to provide $41,000 to the Anniversary Celebration Committee to plan the city's birthday party. Officials said $25,000 of the money will be a loan to sponsor such events as a reception, fireworks display and car show.
The remaining $16,000 will be given to the celebration committee to pay for a parade honoring veterans of the Persian Gulf War.
Officials said they hope to recover most of the loan by soliciting donations from local businesses, selling commemorative dinner plates and taking a share of the revenues from a carnival run by a private business.
Some council members criticized the initial plan to spend $126,000 on the celebration. Mayor Robert Henning described it as "obscene."
"The citizens expect us to be prudent with their money," Henning said. "They do not want us to deplete our general fund."
Henning said the city is in good shape financially, and it should have a general fund balance of about $2 million by June 30.
Officials said the scaled-down proposal will not prevent the city from having a great party. Councilman Paul H. Richards said, "We can still have a celebration with less money."
"We were looking at inviting some well-known celebrities to provide entertainment. Now, we are looking at a lot of freebies from volunteers. But I think we have enough local talent to provide some nice entertainment," said Robert Markovic, chairman of the Recreation and Parks Commission.
Cynthia Green-Geter, a celebration committee member, said she is confident the committee will be able to work within the budget the council has offered. "I don't see any problem with it," she said. "None of the suggestions we made were ironclad. The committee wanted to know what the council wanted. We'll be able to have a really nice celebration."
The most expensive item cut was $30,000 for paving a vacant city lot near Mervyn Dymally Park, where most of the activities will be held. The council also eliminated $20,000 that would have gone for newspaper, radio and cable television advertising. More than $18,000 would have been spent for a block party.
"Other communities are having parades to honor our returning servicemen and women. Lynwood must also show its appreciation," Henning said.
The parade will be held July 20 along Long Beach Boulevard, the major north-south thoroughfare in the city. The week-long celebration will start July 15 and end July 21 with a carnival and fireworks display.
The city, which was incorporated in 1921, has never had an elaborate birthday celebration, officials said.
"It was sort of a consensus that we should celebrate the 70th," said Harold Mattoon, recreation and parks director.
The 61,000 residents of Lynwood will observe the city's 70th birthday during a weeklong celebration from July 15 to 21. The working-class community is 70% Latino and 21% black. In 1886 the area, which was mostly dairy land, was bought by Charles H. Sessions. Sessions and his wife, Lynn, whose maiden name was Wood, agreed to name the place Lynwood, according to city records.