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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | WEST COUNTY / FILLMORE

City OKs Funds for Rural Medical Clinic

January 30, 1998|NICK GREEN

Fillmore has apparently lost a microbrewery, but gained a sorely needed rural medical center.

City officials hailed the economic marriage between the town and the Santa Paula Memorial Hospital-operated clinic as a major coup for the small Santa Clara Valley community.

"This will employ approximately 25 people--doctors, nurses, technicians, office workers," City Manager Roy Payne said. "It represents a million-dollar payroll. . . . It significantly improves the quality and availability of medical services in the community."

The health center, which is expected to open this summer in the former Bank of America branch on Sespe Avenue, will also provide an additional customer base for the city's recently redeveloped downtown, he said.

Moreover, Payne believes the center will help make the city more attractive to residential developments.

Fillmore does not have a comparable medical facility, he said.

The City Council approved an agreement with the hospital this week, committing to a $20,000 grant paid for by redevelopment funds and a $100,000 loan that will be forgiven if the clinic remains in operation for a decade.

To come up with the money, the council canceled a similar agreement it approved last June with developers of the proposed microbrewery.

The Sespe River Brewing Co. had initially envisioned opening a microbrewery and restaurant by this April on a city-owned site at Main Street and Central Avenue. However, a lack of progress prompted the city to pull its financial support in favor of the health center.

The city could reconsider its financial backing for the microbrewery at a later date, Payne said.

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