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Angeles County | Community News File / Downey

U.S. Government Delivers Deed to Former Aerospace Site

October 17, 1998

The federal government has given Downey the deed to the historic 68-acre site where aircraft, missile and spacecraft technology was developed for more than 60 years.

About 3,000 people worked at Rockwell International's aerospace operations in Downey until Boeing took over the company in 1997. Boeing is closing the 160-acre facility as part of a reorganization plan.

City officials have made tentative plans to convert the property into a business park, said Lee Powell, Downey's assistant city manager.

The city has two decades to pay off the $20-million purchase price of the land.

During the 1950s, the site in south Downey housed a Rockwell facility where missile propulsion, guidance and control systems were developed. During the 1960s, workers built the fleet of Apollo spacecraft that ultimately landed Neil Armstrong on the moon.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the facility was used to develop the space shuttle program.

A Boeing spokeswoman said the company plans to close the rest of its Downey operation by the end of 1999. Powell said that city officials are keeping an eye on the other nearly 100 acres that may then come up for sale.

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