The Ball of Yarn


Like many Trail Riders, we opened todays paper to find a news article ( see Court_Control ), indicating the Town of Apple Valley has begun formal proceedings to remedy the Ruin at Hilltop.  The article states that Hilltop Ownership is either unwilling or unprepared to cure the public safety issue.  The   Town will seek a court order to appoint a paid Receiver who essentially will review, recommend and possibly administrate the corrective work necessary to protect the public.

Public Safety is the winner here and remains a key component of the Legacy Trail’s Mission.  Its long overdue.  The Town must protect the stupid or unfortunate who might find serious injury.

In our view, the loser(s) is the community of Trail Riders who worked  hard over the last 18 months to deliver the Legacy Trail via State grants , (see Sept_2015_Newsletter).  With the grant sponsorship provided by the Town, the application was approved by the State and acquisition of Hilltop appeared to be in reach.  Unfortunately, the grant $ amount – though approved by the State and the Town- was not embraced by Hilltop Ownership as representative of their definition of fair market value.  As they say, the rest is history.

Via the grant, the Towns offer was to purchase Hilltop “as is”… including a Ruin in need of major attention.  In our view, this was a very fair offer and demonstrated good faith by the Town, to “get it done”.   Yes, Hilltop Ownership has a right to set their price, but with ownership comes responsibility.   In other words, the property is subject to the same code regulations as any other property.

Is there disappointment about this outcome ?  Absolutely.  If the court approves the Town’s request to appoint a Receiver, there is no assurance of the landmark becoming a community heritage trail.  The Receiver will use his own discretion and resources to determine outcomes.  Our understanding is that Public Safety procedure will be first, followed by some evaluation of highest and best use, all under the overview of the Court.

 To create and preserve a Legacy Trail to the historic Apple Valley Landmark known as Hilltop House; providing far reaching educational, civic, economic and environmental benefits for the region, its visitor’s and the generations to come.

 Like you, we will be watching with great interest as others continue  unwinding the  ball of yarn perched on Hilltop.

Thanks for taking the Trail !

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