The Los Angeles County city of Agoura Hills has been trying to save up for a new recreation center for the past eight years. Thanks to a little boost from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, construction crews finally broke ground in ceremonial fashion. (See Conrad Hilton Foundation: Los Angeles Grants).
With a price tag of $10 million, the people of Agoura Hills dreamed of a 7-acre parcel of property to build a new recreation center upon. The city struggled to find the funds until the Hilton Foundation stepped in and donated $2.3 grant to the project. According to local newspaper, The Acorn, Hilton's donation will make everything on the city's wish list come to fruition, including an outdoor living room, outdoor play areas, separate teen and senior centers, and a stage at the base of the mountain.
Although the Hilton Foundation is a major player in Los Angeles philanthropy, the foundation found its permanent home in Agoura Hills. When the board of directors settled on the city in 2007, President and CEO, Steven M. Hilton, said, “This new home in Agoura Hills will prepare the Hilton Foundation for the time it will double in size and staff...This new project will allow us to grow accordingly into the future.”
The city's new rec center will play host to cultural arts programs, administrative offices, kitchenettes, play areas, and classrooms. Construction has begun on the first building, but others, including a 5,500 square foot event center will follow in due time. "We feel this is a unique opportunity to help both young and old, so that city services can positively impact their lives and strengthen our community," Hilton said at the groundbreaking ceremony.
Given the foundation's traditionally international focus, it's nice to see Hilton making friends with new neighbors. You see, a good portion of the foundation's grants find their way overseas to Catholic nuns, HIV/AIDS support, disaster recovery, and safe drinking water programs. The foundation officially moved into its new Agoura Hills campus in November of 2012. With promises of using “green” resources and being a “good neighbor,”Agoura was chosen for its beauty and quality of life in harmony with the environment.
This $2.3 million donation marks Hilton's first major local grant in the city. Agoura Hills' new rec center is expected to be complete around the end of 2014.