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Ventura County Perspective | SECOND OPINION

Vision 2020 Sets Out a Plan for the Future of Fillmore

The measure, a set of guiding principles, was recently adopted by the community.

May 07, 2000|ROY PAYNE | Roy Payne is Fillmore city manager

Your editorial "Challenges for Fillmore," (April 30) represented a rather myopic view of the issues that are of importance to Fillmore residents.

Fillmore has just completed an 18-month communitywide visioning process that resulted in adoption and door-to-door distribution of the Fillmore Vision 2020 Plan. This plan comprehensively lays out the issues that the community has agreed are important in shaping Fillmore's future.

The plan is not a how-to guide; it is a set of guiding principles and goals for our community into the 21st century. The vision is not set in stone, and critical decisions by the current and future leaders of this community on how to implement it will be the key to the success of the plan.

Rather than the three issues you raised, the community has stated in its vision for the future that to "foster a thriving small-town atmosphere in which civic pride, personal well-being and a balanced economy are nurtured and protected," the following issues are of critical importance:

* Attaining quality education. We must provide abundant opportunities for college and career preparation, technology training and lifelong learning to realize excellence in education through active parental and school staff involvement and a commitment to achieve a California Distinguished School designation for all schools.

* Fostering civic pride. People must take responsibility to do the little things to make a difference in the present and future of their community; residents must keep their homes and businesses in a neat and attractive manner; city workers and citizen volunteers must keep streets, sidewalks, paths and parks well-maintained and neighborhoods free of blight.

* Stimulating community volunteerism. People must give their time and talents for the good of the community to enrich our senior center programs, youth activities, volunteer fire department, community festivals, libraries, schools, the Welcome Wagon and community beautification and crime-prevention programs.

* Connecting our community through communication. We must establish easy access to information and a free and open exchange of ideas between all Fillmore residents on community issues, events, volunteer activities, and opportunities for recreation, socialization and employment.

* Strengthening public safety. We must provide well-equipped and appropriately staffed public safety agencies able to respond to service calls in a timely and caring manner and capable of taking proactive steps to reduce crime and eliminate hazards to life, property and the environment.

* Maximizing recreation and social opportunities. We must establish quality parks and abundant recreation and social activities for all age groups to evoke rich interaction within the community and nurture good health and strong civic pride.

* Preserving agriculture in the Santa Clara River Valley. We need a viable, flexible agricultural industry that preserves our healthy, small-town rural setting and maintains our balanced local economy.

* Promoting balanced economic growth. We need a thriving, balanced economy that emphasizes agriculture as a productive, healthy industry, tourism that promotes and celebrates the historic characteristics, culture, lifestyles and features of the Santa Clara River Valley (Heritage Valley) and locally owned businesses and industries set in a traditional, small-town business environment.

* Managing growth in our community. Fillmore will continue slow, well-planned growth to 2020, with the population expected to reach approximately 20,000. Our challenge for the future is to allow for expansion of jobs and homes without losing the character of our community, our unique downtown and surrounding agriculture. We will continue to have a friendly, safe and peaceful city.

As stated in your editorial, Fillmore "earned widespread respect when it responded to heavy damage from the 1994 Northridge earthquake by thoughtfully rethinking and rebuilding its shattered downtown." The same thoughtful thinking and leadership that went into that effort are epitomized in the Vision 2020 plan and have also earned Fillmore the reputation of being named "the best community in the West" by Sunset magazine. Huell Howser said in Westways magazine, "The old downtown looks as if it came right off the cover of an old Saturday Evening Post magazine."

I agree with your assertion that "Fillmore residents who care about their city's future will never have a better opportunity to make a difference." However, let's encourage the debate to focus on the tremendous opportunities that lie ahead for Fillmore as envisioned by the community in Vision 2020.

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