Fountain memorializes Mainiero

“I like to come here and think about the good old times of the orange grove era,” said Rudy Lopez, who has been living in La Verne for 62 years. The local resident likes to spend time by the fountain at the corner of 3rd and D Streets, which will soon be renamed after the late John “Skip” Mainiero. / photo by Ary Farajollahi
“I like to come here and think about the good old times of the orange grove era,” said Rudy Lopez, who has been living in La Verne for 62 years. The local resident likes to spend time by the fountain at the corner of 3rd and D Streets, which will soon be renamed after the late John “Skip” Mainiero. / photo by Ary Farajollahi

by Martha I. Fernandez
Features Editor

With a mission of preserving history and the quality of life, the city of La Verne is planning to remodel the square at the corner of “D” and Third streets and dedicate it to John ”Skip” Mainiero, former University of La Verne vice-president of finance and administration.

The construction is planned to begin in late April or early May with hopes of completion in July.

Martin R. Lomeli, city manager, said the City Council decided to dedicate the square to Mainiero, who died in June 1993, due to the former vice-president’s contribution to the community and University, involvement with the downtown area and dedication as a city resident.

“They felt it was a small, but significant way to honor his memory,” said Lomeli.

The area is city property. The projected cost of the renovations is $100,000, with all the funding coming from the La Verne Redevelopment Agency and city’s housing fund. The Redevelopment Agency gets funding from projects in the area that generate a higher property tax. This fund is exclusive to economic development of beautification projects in the area. Costs will be spread over two fiscal years.

This project is expected to be the last major renovation project in this area. The square is expected to be the next project after the completion of the downtown plaza at Bonita and “D” streets. The city has been focusing on the area for the last four years.

“The downtown is an important part of La Verne’s history and heritage. It offers unique services to the quality of life of our community,” Lomeli said. “It’s to make our community a more attractive, desirable place not only to live, but also to spend free time.”

Lomeli said the concept is to open up the square and make the area more attractive, useful and inviting. The area will continue the 1920s and 1930s theme the city has been working on for the downtown.

“We’re going to try and match this downtown park to that design theme,” said Lomeli.

Specific plans include replacing the standing brick with river rock, taking out the brick wall structure, laying new pavement, adding wrought-iron benches, more lawn, a wrought-iron fence to define the area, and a trellis that will be a walkway for the University. A flagpole will also be placed in the square. La Verne parks and community services will supervise the project.

“The downtown merchants are aware of it and I believe they are supportive of the project,” said Lomeli.

He hopes that this new square will be “a gateway for the University to the downtown and the downtown to the University.”

ULV has agreed to develop the plaque that will honor Dr. Mainiero’s memory. The city has been working with the University on the renovation project.

The trees will be left in the square and any dedication plaques will be redone and put in place. The square currently hosts the Van Dusen Fountain, in honor of a businessman and resident who donated money for the initial square which was built in the early 1970s.

“It’s exciting for me, from a personal standpoint, seeing all the changes and to remember what was there and, in a way, leave some sort of lasting impression for the downtown of tomorrow,” Lomeli said.

Other projected plans for the downtown area are two murals depicting La Verne’s history. Lomeli hopes to use the walls on the La Verne Deli and the Future Talent Dance Studio at “D” and Third streets.

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