Saticoy passed over: El Rio to be home to new Juvenile Justice Center

April 05, 2000
Santa Paula News
Saticoy, a Santa Paula neighbor west of the city in the Santa Clara River Valley, missed being chosen as the site of a new juvenile justice center, but there is controversy over the selected locale. School officials and residents of El Rio, the tiny community off Vineyard Avenue, are objecting to a 45-acre strawberry field north of Oxnard selected by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors for $65 million project.Supervisors voted 4-1 in favor of the El Rio site, saying the location and its sole owner represents the fastest track for the project. A site that had been the favorite, located in Saticoy between Wells Road and the Santa Clara River overpass bridge, is a flower farm with numerous owners that could have delayed acquisition.At one point an area near the Todd Road Jail, just west of Santa Paula, had been discussed as a potential site but was cut from the short list of properties under consideration.Supervisor John Flynn, whose district includes the El Rio property, voted against its selection, saying he favored building the proposed 540-bed center at the Ventura County Government Center. Flynn had been a vocal critic of the Todd Road Jail and had advocated that it built at the government center, noting that the center was designed for such future growth.
El Rio and Oxnard residents have objected to the proposed site due to traffic impacts and wastewater services; area school teachers and administrators from Rio Mesa High School are objecting due to the site’s proximity to local schools.The El Rio site is west of Vineyard Avenue between Lambert and Beedy streets; the property is expected to cost the county about $4 million. County officials said the site is preferred as it does not border any residential neighborhoods and has room for expansion; the first phase will include 420 beds and, eventually, six courtrooms for juvenile and family law and offices for attorneys, counselors and probation officers.The County of Ventura has agreed to spend up to $24.5 million on the project with the balance coming from the state. It will replace the aging Juvenile Hall which has only 84 beds but often holds as many as 125 juveniles in detention.

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