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Corona del Mar timepiece starts ticking

August 05, 2005|By: Andrew Edwards

All 6,000 pounds of the green and bronze Centennial Time Clock

hovered over the asphalt as workers readied the 24-foot clock tower

to be lowered into its home at the future site of Centennial Plaza.

A small audience drawn largely from the Corona del Mar Centennial

Foundation's ranks looked on from a parking lot near the corner of

East Coast Highway and Marguerite Avenue as a work crew under the

supervision of contractor Paul Keohane strapped the clock tower to a

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crane, lifted it from a flatbed truck and turned the tower upright.

Workers then lowered the community's newest green and bronze landmark

onto bolts that protruded from the concrete below.

"It looks a lot better up there than on paper, Ron," Centennial

Foundation chairman Bernie Svalstad told architect Ron Yeo after the

clock was in position.

Yeo said he did not want to emulate any particular style in the

clock's design. The mostly green tower has four clock faces on each

side near the tower's top. A small spire points skyward from the

tower's bronze roof. Below the clock faces, the words "Corona del

Mar, California" are cut from bronze plates above the year of the

neighborhood's founding, 1904.

"It's kind of an urban-beach feeling," Yeo said, describing the

look he was aiming for.

One of the youngest members of the audience was 2-year-old Nicolas

Christiano. Nicolas' grandmother, Jacqueline Wittmeyer, brought him

to the installation.

"I wanted him to come, so when he drives by for the rest of his

life, he can remember watching it go up," said Wittmeyer, director of

the centennial foundation.

The clock's installation took Corona del Mar's Centennial Plaza

one step closer to reality. Keohane, a Corona del Mar resident and

owner of Custom Metal Fabricators, said the next step in the plaza's

construction is the demolition of the sidewalk near the intersection.

Plans call for sand-colored mosaic tiles to replace the no-frills

concrete at the sidewalk near the plaza.

Hand-painted tiles, a time capsule, and a stone monument bearing

the names of donors who contributed to the plaza's construction have

yet to be installed before the completed Centennial Plaza's scheduled

opening on Sept. 25, said Peggy Fort, centennial foundation executive

director .

* ANDREW EDWARDS covers business and the environment. He can be

reached at (714) 966-4624 or at o7andrew.edwards@latimes.comf7.

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