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A Southern California City: Developing or Declining By: Karina Rodarte

In the acts of recovering this fallen city, Fontana has become one of the most booming cities in California.

Its projects, for example, Pacific Electric Trail, the Lewis Library and Technology, Steelworkers’ Auditorium, and even new homes and apartments have caught the attention of locals and others too.

Fontana's newest addition to its community, Miller Amphitheater

Fontana’s history in crime, damaged roads, and underdeveloped living arrangements made a surprising disappearance throughout the decades.

“We’ve gone from being a laughing stock of San Bernardino County to being a standard of San Bernardino County,” says City Manager, Kenneth Hunt.

Hunt explains the rollercoaster Fontana has gone through to get to where it is today.

“We’re no longer facing financial ruin ¾ we’re now in a situation where we have surpluses,” Hunt says.

Declining of the city fell into action during the bankruptcy of the Kaiser Steel Plant in the late 1980’s. Half of the plant was demolished and sold to the Chinese government, and the empty lot became what is known as the Auto Club Speedway.

Kaiser Steel Mill , Fontana, California
Auto Club Speedway

As City Council member and resident since childhood, Amy Colbrunn describes the beginning of Fontana’s failure.

“Recession happened in the early 90’s, a lot of people lost their jobs,” Colbrunn explains.

Since then, Fontana struggled financially and economically.

According to the Fontana Demographics database, Neighborhood Scout, Fontana has grown out of that.

Since then, the city has increased in home value and crime is at its all-time low. With home value increasing in over 28%, it has eventually ranked Fontana a spot in the top 20% for its real estate accomplishments nationally.

“We’re a big place, it creates a lot of challenges and things, I don’t say it’s an easy thing to deal with,” explains Hunt.

The population has increased dramatically since the 1980’s. In the 1990’s, Fontana became populated with over 87,000 then doubling in size in the late 2000’s, with a population of 196,000.

Overview of Fontana

Fontana is now a home to over 209,000 people and continues to grow every day.

Correspondingly, its community looks like it hasn’t grown only in population and real estate. The city’s crime has also dropped tremendously.

“It was a tough town,” Hunt recalls, “We were the San Bernardino of that era.”

Fontana has become safer than 24% of U.S cities.

According to the Neighborhood Scout on Fontana’s Crime demographics, it claims that 1 in 236 people would be a victim in a violent crime when compared to an overall in California where it is 1 in every 225 people.

Local resident, Adrianna Hernandez, says “My garage used to always be broken into when I first moved here. But since then I don’t really have issues”.

Burglary is no surprise to any city. Fontana has some more improvement to do before its considered perfect.

Another Fontana resident, Clarissa Serrano, shares, “It’s not Beverly Hills but it’s good enough.”

The city’s newest additions such as its upcoming museum and its oldest treasure such as the theatre, Center Stage Theater, has changed the way Fontana is represented.

From the Fontana Days Parade to its Arts and Entertainment classes, Fontana demonstrates that it is the city of a strong community and will continue work in efforts of keeping the city at its standard.

The 59th annual Fontana Days Run Source: sbsun.com

“We’ve been recognized as being one of the [most] innovated cities,” Kenneth Hunt says.

Fontana plans to build more apartments and more facilities for its locals to enjoy. The City also plans to improve their traffic signals and road construction.

This city continues to work past its struggles and encourage its community and others that its modern, clean, vibrant, and connected.

GoogleMaps of Fontana, CA
A view down Sierra Ave.

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