State OKs $600,000 Grant for Agoura Hills Equestrian Center, Park

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A state parks agency has approved a $600,000 grant to the city of Agoura Hills to acquire and build a 10-acre regional equestrian center and community park north of the Ventura Freeway.

The funds, approved Monday night by the board of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, represent the largest single grant ever received by Agoura Hills, said Joseph Donofrio, the city's director of parks and recreation.

The project involves an unusual land exchange between the city and Chesebro Development Group Inc. The city is to acquire the park site, known as the Stroud property and located at Chesebro Road and Driver Avenue adjacent to the Zuma Ridge Trail, from the development firm.

In return, the city will pay the developers $125,000, give them the 2.75-acre Agoura Park and zoning approval to construct 62 condominiums at the small park site.

Officials said the new park, to be known as the Lower Chesebro Equestrian Center, will provide needed trail access for area equestrians and a better park for the city than the lightly utilized Agoura Park. In effect, it will be two parks in one.

According to a concept plan prepared for the city, the southern end of the property will be developed for equestrians using the Zuma Ridge and other mountain trails. A horse arena will be built, along with parking, staging and picnic areas.

Most of the property will be developed as a community park, with playground equipment, picnic tables, a baseball field, and basketball, volleyball and horseshoe courts.

The city has estimated that the park will cost nearly $1.3 million to develop, not counting the $125,000 acquisition cost.

Donofrio said he expected construction to start late next year and the park to be completed by mid-1992.

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