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Apple Valley Town Council to consider demolition of the prominent Hilltop House landmark

APPLE VALLEY, Calif. ( –The Apple Valley Town Council will consider the demolition of the Hilltop House as part of a renovation process during Tuesday evening’s meeting.

The Hill Top House was constructed in 1957 by Town founders Newton T. Bass and Bud Westlund on a 20.75 parcel now known as Bass Hill.

The Town purchased the property in May 2016 with assistance from a National Park Service grant through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Hilltop House, starting first with demolition
(The Town has spent several tens of thousands of dollars in personnel and materials costs to secure and resecure the property and abate the attractive nuisances and graffiti that frequently plague the Town owned property. — photo courtesy Town of APple Valley)

The following year, the Apple Valley Town Council adopted a Resolution placing the recently purchased Hilltop House property into the Town of Apple Valley Park system.

Officials said the Town has been unsuccessful in obtaining grants to renovate the building due to the complexity, uncertainty, and high cost of the work to be completed.

After multiple fires and, subsequent abandonment, the house, which was once used as an
entertainment and conference center, has fallen into disrepair over the years and was, ultimately, condemned by Town officials and a contract engineering firm.

Hilltop House, starting first with demolition
(photo courtesy Town of APple Valley)

As a result, the Town is looking to phase the project, starting now with the demolition of the structure and preparation of a clean and shovel-ready site which should help to secure future grant funding and ultimately finance the entire renovation project.

“Although the Town Council can decide to wait until full funding is in place in order to demolish and renovate the building and property at once, it is believed that demolishing the building today will also help to improve safety and allow for the creation of a hiking trail that leads to a vista point with picturesque views of Apple Valley,” stated town officials.

Officials said much of the security fencing has been cut through and there is frequent vandalism, graffiti, and the structure is severely substandard and dangerous for trespassers. The property is not open to the public and curious visitors use the driveway as a hiking trail.

(photo courtesy Town of Apple Valley)

Officials said that demolition would also help to reduce ongoing maintenance costs, eliminate nuisance and vandalism, and open the trail and hilltop for access.

The ultimate goal of the Hilltop House renovation project will include a graded hiking trail utilizing the existing driveway, seating, educational kiosks, fall protection, and an observation platform and shade structure that resembles the look of the existing Hilltop House.

The estimated fiscal impact is $150,000 to $200,00; using allocated CDBG funding.

(A vegetation fire near the Hilltop house was quickly contained. (Gabriel D. Espinoza, — photo taken August 30, 2020

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(photo by Hugo C. Valdez)

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