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VALLEY ROUNDUP | North Hills

Veterans Center Repairs Funded

October 20, 2000|CAROL CHAMBERS

Congress approved an appropriations bill Thursday that will provide about $1.7 million to rebuild a gym at the Sepulveda Veterans Administration health center, which was damaged in the Northridge earthquake.

The 2001 VA-HUD Appropriations Act contains $430,000 for the project, plus an allocation of $1.3 million remaining in an earthquake recovery fund. The bill passed in the Senate on a 85-8 vote and in the House of Representatives on a 386-24 vote.

"Getting this money was no slam-dunk," said David Foy, spokesman for Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), who with Rep. Howard Berman (D-Mission Hills) championed the bill. "This was really our top priority for the San Fernando Valley."

The gym had been closed since 1999 after federal officials deemed it unsafe. Initial repair estimates were about $3.5 million, but that figure included a pool, Foy said. Eliminating the pool, the $1.7 million should cover a basketball court, locker rooms and other amenities, he said.

"This is an absolutely fabulous day for the veterans in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys," Foy said. "They were promised this back in 1994 by the secretary of the Veterans Administration at a town meeting, but nothing happened."

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