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FILLMORE : Demolition Begins on Old Building

Demolition began Monday in Fillmore on a building that was proposed as a Ventura County historical landmark last year.

City officials said the demolition has been planned since March, when the city spent $155,000 to buy the 85-year-old United Mercantile Building, because repairing the structure was considered too costly.

Recently home to a discount clothing store, the 4,300-square-foot building was the only structure in Fillmore’s downtown business district that did not receive a face lift under a redevelopment program begun two years ago.

Former owner Harry Herman of Santa Paula said he decided to sell the building to the city because he could not afford $50,000 for repairs that the structure needed before cosmetic improvements could be made.

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City officials said they have not decided on a permanent use for the site, but Administrative Assistant Tom Ristau said the land will be used as a temporary park with grass and benches.

Demolition is expected to be completed today, and the site should be graded by the end of the week, Ristau said.

Destroying the structure will cost the city about $11,000, he said.

Katherine Garner of the Ventura County Cultural Heritage Board said earlier this year that the United Mercantile Building was proposed as a landmark both because of its age and because Fillmore’s first mayor, George Teague, once owned the building.

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Garner agreed that it was not cost-effective to preserve the building, but said she hoped that Fillmore officials would place a plaque on the site to show where the building stood.


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