Goals set for Agoura

LARGE STRIDES—At a meeting last week, the City of Agoura Hills reviewed achievements made in the last 12 months and outlined steps it will take toward meeting goals, including planning a new park. Acorn file photo

LARGE STRIDES—At a meeting last week, the City of Agoura Hills reviewed achievements made in the last 12 months and outlined steps it will take toward meeting goals, including planning a new park. Acorn file photo

Council members, managers and personnel from all departments of the City of Agoura Hills met last week to outline achievements reached this past year and upcoming goals.

The city took a broader look at goals for the first time, discussing projects, budgets and priorities for two years instead of one.

City Manager Greg Ramirez kicked off the meeting with news that Agoura Hills ranked 35 out of 482 cities for “fiscal soundness” in a study commissioned by state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa).

The two-year budget review demonstrated the Agoura’s fiscal focus. Ramirez said the city’s budget is projected to be balanced this year and next.

Two new hotels are planned for Agoura Hills, which will add more revenue to the city’s coffers. The general fund revenue, Ramirez said, is on the uptick; Expenses are going up also, but slightly less so.

Several people attended the meeting to praise officials for contributing city funds to help pave Fairview Place, a private road in Old Agoura. A group of neighbors in the area chipped in money to repair the road, but they didn’t have enough funds to complete the project.

Ramiro Adeva, director of public works, said the midsection of the rural road off Fairview Place and Chesebro Road was in bad shape. While cities generally won’t spend public money on private projects, he said, there was a public benefit in helping with the project. Fairview Place provides an emergency exit out of Old Agoura. If a mass evacuation was needed, the road could have damaged cars, slowed traffic and created a dangerous situation for residents and first responders.

Adeva said Fairview Place is also used as part of the route for the annual Great Race 10K. Keeping runners safe is an additional public benefit, he said.

The city paid for about 300 feet of pavement for the road. The cost was estimated at $50,000, which was included in the overlay budget.

Old Agoura resident George Colman thanked the city for the help.

“It wasn’t in our ability to fund (completely),” he said.

Mayor Bill Koehler said the newly paved road would be beneficial on many fronts. Dan Halprin, an Old Agoura resident who organized the road improvement with his neighbors, was thanked by the council.

Other goals discussed at the meeting included the construction of Old Agoura Bridge, which, when completed, will provide a walkway connection to Old Agoura Park. The crosswalk will be moved and a prefabricated bridge will be installed, Adeva said.

The project will cost about $186,000 and will be paid for through community development grants. Construction will begin in May and June, and the project is estimated to be completed by July.

Water quality was also discussed. New laws will require the city to pay for a water treatment plant and a low-flow diversion project. Stormwater that flows down the Lindero Creek channel will be pretreated, and large debris like branches and rocks will be removed before the water lands at the treatment plant, Adeva said. Phase two, he said, will see the transformation of the concrete channel into a natural wetland area.

Adeva said the treatment plant-wetland area will offer an educational component to science classes offered in Las Virgenes Unified School District. The cost for the projects is estimated at $10.6 million, and half of the cost will come from a matching grant program.

Landscape beautification of Reyes Adobe Road is underway. Adeva said the project is now under state review, and bids will open by July. The project will include the planting of 60 new oak trees.

Adeva said private property owners have agreed to allow the city to removed diseased oleander trees from their properties; also, recycled water will be used on properties that face a main arterial road.

A new park is being planned for the city. Agoura Village Park, now in the concept phase of planning, will be built over a flood channel on Cornell Road. Pedestrian and bike trails are planned for the area, and equestrian use will be maintained via the Zuma trail.

The project, Adeva said, will benefit the city in many ways: water quality will be improved, and the park will add beauty to the area.

Surrounding businesses, he said, have agreed to partner with the city on the project, which, when completed, will offer educational opportunities as well as community activities.

Other projects discussed at the meeting included the remodeling of park restrooms throughout the city and the addition of charging stations for electric vehicles at the Agoura Hills Recreation and Event Center.