Palm trees in Fillmore, Calif., before they were removed. (Wanda Castel/Fillmore Gazette)
All the tall palm trees that once graced the main street in Fillmore, Calif., have been removed.
But they weren't infected with a pest, nor did they pose a hazard to pedestrians or downtown buildings.
The 20 trees were taken out because the city wanted to have a better shot at being in the movies.
Fillmore doesn't want to look like it's in California. It wants to be seen as any plain downtown in America, reports the Ventura County Star.
The Fillmore Film Commission markets the quaint downtown in the small Southern California city as "Anytown, U.S.A." to be in the movies.
However, as the newspaper reports, some location scouts and movie companies have complained in the past that they have had to edit out the trees—which would look odd if the film were not set in a sunny state—from their productions.
The Fillmore Film Commission has seen its revenue from filming permits drop from $70,000 a few years ago to $10,000 last year, the Star notes in its story. The commission hopes the generic look will boost filming in the city.
The money received from filming permits benefits a number of city agencies, Fillmore Film Commissioner Pat Couse told the Ventura County Star. City police and fire crews who work overtime also earn compensation from filming.
Downtown Fillmore, Calif., after palm trees were removed. (Wanda Castel/Fillmore Gazette)
To help market the city's new, treeless look, the film commission sent an email to about 200 location scouts with "before" and "after" pictures of the street.
"The word is out there. They will consider us now," Couse said.
The local chamber of commerce also hopes new filming will revitalize the downtown area, the Star reports.
Some residents voiced opposition in the Fillmore Gazette to the removal of the palm trees.
"Shame on those that voted to cut our lovely palm trees down," Sharon A. Villasenor wrote in the local newspaper. "I have lived in this town all of my life and I can safely say more years than all of the city council combined. You folks come in here like thieves in the night, with little warning to the public, and chop down all our lovely palm trees that have so graciously lined our Central Avenue for over 70 years. ... You have just ruined a beautiful little community that I was once proud to call my home."
Frank Ramirez, owner of the Central Station Bar & Grill, told the Star that he doesn't expect much change in the filming or any extra traffic to local merchants.
"I've been here eight years, and it's been the same," Ramirez said.