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Fontana () is a city of 207,460 residents in San Bernardino County, California. Founded by Azariel Blanchard Miller in 1913, it remained essentially rural until World War II, when entrepreneur Henry J. Kaiser built a large steel mill in the area. It is now a regional hub of the trucking industry, with Interstate 10 and State Route 210 transecting the city from east to west, and Interstate 15 passing diagonally through its northwestern quadrant.
It is home to the largest of the San Bernardino County system libraries, a renovated historic theater, a municipal park, and the Auto Club Speedway on the site of the Kaiser Steel Mill. Fontana also hosts the Fontana Days Half Marathon and 5K run. This race is the fastest half-marathon course in the world.
The United States Census Bureau estimated Fontana's 2016 population at 207,460, making it the second most populous city in San Bernardino County and the 19th largest in the state. The name fontana is Italian for fountain or water source, being in close proximity to the Santa Ana River to the east.
Fontana was founded in 1913 by Azariel Blanchard Miller. Within a few years it became an agricultural town of citrus orchards, vineyards and chicken ranches astride U.S. Route 66 (now known as Foothill Boulevard). The Fontana area was radically transformed during World War II when Henry J. Kaiser built one of only two steel mills west of the Mississippi River outside the city limits. To provide for the plant workers' health needs, Henry J. Kaiser constructed the Fontana Kaiser Permanente medical facility, now the largest managed care organization in the United States.
In the 1950s and '60s, Fontana was home to a drag racing strip that was a venue in the NHRA circuit. Mickey Thompson's Fontana International Dragway was also referred to as Fontana Drag City or Fontana Drag Strip. The original Fontana strip is long since defunct, but the owners of NASCAR's new Auto Club Speedway opened a new NHRA-sanctioned drag strip in Fontana in mid-2006 to resurrect Fontana's drag-racing heritage.
Ro-Val's automobile museum, located on Foothill Boulevard on the western outskirts between Fontana and Cucamonga, was for a while the home for many classic automobiles of the 1920s and '30s, including a huge vehicle once owned by screen actor Fatty Arbuckle. When the Ro-Val museum closed, the vehicles were sold to Bill Harrah, a Nevada casino owner and automobile collector, who placed them on display in the museum located at his casino.
As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 128,929, but the present population is now estimated to have reached over 200,000 (2013). This rapid expansion had much to do with the numerous large, new residential developments in the almost totally undeveloped northern part of the city, as well as with the city's aggressive (and highly successful) campaign to annex several unincorporated, but developed, San Bernardino county island areas in 2006–2007.
Most of the city of Fontana, like its eastern neighbors Rialto and San Bernardino, is built atop a geologically young, gently southward-sloping alluvial fan from nearby Lytle Creek, deposited mainly during the Holocene and late-Pleistocene epochs. There are also sedimentary deposits of similar age from Etiwanda Creek on the western edge of the city. However, the northern and southern edges of the city are formed by the much older San Gabriel and Jurupa mountain ranges, respectively. The Jurupa Mountains are composed primarily of Cretaceous and Paleozoic-era rocks, as are the San Gabriels, which also include even older, Proterozoic formations. The most prominent of the San Gabriel Mountains visible from Fontana is Cucamonga Peak, elevation 8,859 feet (2,700 m). Additionally, the Cucamonga Fault Zone, contiguous with the Sierra Madre Fault Zone, runs through the northern part of the city, along the base of the San Gabriels, notably through the Hunter's Ridge and Coyote Canyon planned communities. It is estimated to be capable of producing earthquakes approximately of magnitude 6.0-7.0.
The city's listed elevation, measured from the northeast corner of the intersection of Upland Avenue and Sierra Avenue, downtown by City Hall, is 1,237 feet (377 m). However, the highest elevation within the city limits is approximately 2,600 feet (790 m), in the northernmost part of the Panorama neighborhood of Hunter's Ridge. The lowest point within the city limits is approximately 840 feet (260 m), at the intersection of Etiwanda and Philadelphia avenues, the extreme southwestern corner of the city. This difference in elevation is due to the southward slope of the Lytle Creek alluvial fan.
The city is frequently affected by the strong, hot and dry Santa Ana winds as they blow through the nearby Cajon Pass of the San Gabriel mountains, from the Mojave Desert. Fontana can also be extremely hot in summer, well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
As of the census of 2000, there were 128,929 people, 34,014 households, and 29,013 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,569.7 inhabitants per square mile (1,378.2/km²). There were 35,908 housing units at an average density of 994.2 per square mile (383.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 45.0% White, 11.8% African American, 1.1% Native American, 4.4% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 31.9% from other races, and 5.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 57.7% of the population.
There were 34,014 households out of which 57.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.5% were married couples living together, 15.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 14.7% were non-families. 10.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.8 and the average family size was 4.0.
In the city, the population was spread out with 37.8% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 32.4% from 25 to 44, 14.7% from 45 to 64, and 4.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $45,782, and the median income for a family was $46,957. Males had a median income of $36,062 versus $26,305 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,208. About 12.2% of families and 14.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.2% of those under age 18 and 10.3% of those age 65 or over.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Fontana had a population of 196,069. The population density was 4,620.8 people per square mile (1,784.1/km²). The racial makeup of Fontana was 92,978 (47.4%) White (15.4% Non-Hispanic White), 19,574 (10.0%) African American, 1,957 (1.0%) Native American, 12,948 (6.6%) Asian, 547 (0.3%) Pacific Islander, 58,449 (29.8%) from other races, and 9,616 (4.9%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 130,957 persons (66.8%).
The Census reported that 195,625 people (99.8% of the population) lived in households, 216 (0.1%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 228 (0.1%) were institutionalized.
There were 49,116 households, out of which 29,465 (60.0%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 30,245 (61.6%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 8,074 (16.4%) had a female householder with no husband present, 4,125 (8.4%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 3,447 (7.0%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 317 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 4,801 households (9.8%) were made up of individuals and 1,633 (3.3%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.98. There were 42,444 families (86.4% of all households); the average family size was 4.18.
The population was spread out with 64,521 people (32.9%) under the age of 18, 22,995 people (11.7%) aged 18 to 24, 57,646 people (29.4%) aged 25 to 44, 39,823 people (20.3%) aged 45 to 64, and 11,084 people (5.7%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28.7 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.7 males.
There were 51,857 housing units at an average density of 1,222.1 per square mile (471.9/km²), of which 33,862 (68.9%) were owner-occupied, and 15,254 (31.1%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.6%; the rental vacancy rate was 6.0%. 134,857 people (68.8% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 60,768 people (31.0%) lived in rental housing units.
According to the 2010 United States Census, Fontana had a median household income of $64,195, with 15.0% of the population living below the federal poverty line.
Fontana's current economy is driven largely by industrial uses, particularly trucking-based industries. Public funding assists in reducing the associated pollution impacts the community.
The city is home to several truck dealerships, and other industrial equipment sales centers, and, like its neighbors Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga, many product distribution centers for such companies as Toyota, Target, Sears, Mercedes-Benz, Southern California Edison, Home Shopping Network, and Avery Dennison. The city is also home to numerous small manufacturers of building materials and other locally used products, and many small auto dealerships and salvage yards. Fontana's economy has also heavily encouraged, at least until such activities had been somewhat hampered by the Subprime mortgage crisis, the planning, developing and construction of new housing tracts. The city also has numerous local shopping centers, such as the Summit Heights Gateway/Falcon Ridge Town Center at the north end of the city, and Palm Court in the southern section. The city also features commercial strip zoning along several of its major avenues and boulevards, such as the "Miracle Mile" Straddling the 210 Freeway between Citrus and Sierra Avenues. The official Fontana Auto Center is part of that zone, with two major dealerships already in place.
According to the City's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
Possibly the city's largest economic engine, however, is the Auto Club Speedway. Although technically not within the city limits, the speedway brings tens of thousands of racing fans and dozens of teams to the region for a few days each year, which can be a major boom for local restaurants, motels, hotels, and auto service stations.
Fontana is a general law city; it has no city charter. Led by a council composed of a mayor and four councilmembers, it uses a council-manager form of government. The mayor, councilmembers, city clerk, and city treasurer are elected at-large to serve four-year terms.
According to the city's most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the city's various funds had $348.0 million in Revenues, $224.0 million in expenditures, $1,371.6 million in total assets, $754.1 million in total liabilities, and $251.3 million in cash and investments.
The structure of the management and coordination of city services is:
Effective July 1, 2008, the city of Fontana formed its own Fire Protection District (similar to a Fire Department). Fontana has continued with its previous fire protection provider (now as a contract city) with the San Bernardino County Fire Department. American Medical Response provides patient care and transportation via EMT/Paramedic staffed ambulances.
Fontana also maintains its own police department, but for the unincorporated areas (like the nearby town of Bloomington), the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department is used (mainly from the Fontana satellite station, or backup deputies from the West Valley/Rancho Cucamonga Regional Station).
In the California State Legislature, Fontana is in the 20th Senate District, represented by Democrat Connie Leyva, and in the 47th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Eloise Reyes.
In the United States House of Representatives, Fontana is split between California's 31st, and 35th districts, which are represented by Democrat Pete Aguilar and Democrat Norma Torres, respectively.
One of the more prominent and well-known landmarks of the city is the Lewis Library and Technology Center, which opened in April 2008. At an estimated cost of over $60,000,000, this facility was made possible through a mixture of private and public funds. It is the largest library in the San Bernardino County Library System.
Located on Sierra Avenue, downtown, some features of the library include:
While most residents of the city attend schools within the Fontana Unified School District, some areas of the city are served by neighboring school districts.
There are two Options For Youth Charter Schools in Fontana. These schools are chartered through the Victor Valley Union High School District and offer an independent study program and Small group classes to obtain a high school diploma.
The Metrolink rail service to the greater Los Angeles area has a station here and runs through the center of town. The city of Fontana is ten minutes away from Ontario International Airport. The city is also served by Omnitrans bus service.
Fontana receives electrical power through the Southern California Edison Company. Gas service is provided by the Southern California Gas Company. Telephone and DSL Internet service are through AT&T and Frontier Communications, though Frontier serves a smaller portion of the city. Time Warner Cable also provides cable television and cable Internet access. Burrtec Waste provides rubbish and trash collection throughout the city. Burrtec offers both regular waste and green waste recycling programs. Fontana is served by five different water companies, but none of their service areas overlap. These companies are: Fontana Water; the Cucamonga Valley Water District; Marygold Mutual Water; and West Valley Water District, and the city of Rialto. Sewage service in the city is provided by the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, but is billed out by the city of Fontana itself. The Fontana community is serviced by KFON-TV (commonly known as Fontana Community Television), a Government-access television (GATV) cable tv.
Fontana is home to the Kaiser Permanente-Fontana Hospital. Located on Sierra Avenue, and occupying most of the block between Sierra, Marygold, and Palmetto Avenues, and Valley Boulevard, The campus forms one of the largest healthcare facilities in the Inland Empire Region. On more of a side note, the various facilities are also among the tallest and largest buildings in the city (other than industrial distribution centers). The hospital is home to sixty different specialized departments, plus emergency care.
Also, located in the north end of the city, along the "Miracle Mile" of Sierra Lakes Parkway and the 210 freeway, is the Sierra San Antonio Medical Plaza, a 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) outpatient center and medical office building supported by San Antonio Community Hospital. Services currently available from SSAMP are urgent care, diagnostic radiology, physician offices, and a pharmacy. The facility also boasts a 3,000-square-foot (280 m2) educational suite where community lectures, health screenings, awareness campaigns, maternity and CPR classes are held.
Located next door to the Lewis Library on Sierra stands the Center Stage Theater. Built in the Art Deco style in 1937, and designed by architect C.H. Boller, the former Fontana (movie) Theater was recently renovated during 2004–2008 after several decades of various other uses, into a live dinner theater, with $6,000,000 in funds earmarked by the Fontana City Council. It reopened to the public on July 25, 2008.
Next door to the Lewis Library and Technology Center, the Steelworkers' Auditorium provides the public with the opportunity to venture into the arts. It houses events like Performance Tuesdays, theatre camps, acting classes, musical classes, summer reading programs, family movie nights, performance recitals and dance classes.
The building is also available for rent for certain occasions such as: award ceremonies, dance recitals, talent competitions and much more.
The Art Depot is one of Fontana's original community centers, and is a specialized Cultural Arts facility. Originally built as a freight depot of the Pacific Electric Railway in 1915, the Art Depot sits alongside the newly landscaped Pacific Electric Trail in the Helen Putnam Historical Plaza. The Art Depot offers art classes, open studio activities, and special events.
The city's Artist Showcase program at city hall was developed in order to demonstrate Fontana's dedication to the Cultural Arts. Through the provision of quarterly artist showcases, Fontana residents are introduced to local artists.
One of the objectives of the program is to introduce the process used by the artist to develop the art form, and methods used to bring the work to life. Each artist selected for the quarterly showcases is asked to exhibit their work for a three-month period in the City Council Chamber Foyer located at City Hall. The artist will also be showcased in a small presentation, invited to dine with the members of the Fontana Community and presented to City Council. Additionally, each artist selected will be awarded a nominal stipend from the local Fontana business community.
Auto Club Speedway, a racetrack that plays host to the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series and Xfinity Series, along with the IndyCar Series and various smaller races, is located in an unincorporated part of Fontana, on Cherry Avenue. It is built on the former site of the Kaiser Steel mill. The large smelting furnaces of the mill were sold to China, and the rest remains a working steel mill operated by California Steel Industries, which is owned by the Japanese company JFE Steel Corporation.
Healthy Fontana is a program dedicated to improving lifestyle choices and healthier habits in the form of nutrition and fitness. Healthy Fontana provides educational classes programs throughout the city of Fontana.
The Center opened its doors in the heart of downtown Fontana for over 30 years. Since then, it has undergone some renovations and changed up some of the programming. It is a center devoted to bringing forth as many fun and unique programs to residents. The programming includes: ballet, dance, karate, kickboxing, its very own Tiny Tot program, and much more.
Located in South Fontana, Don Day Neighborhood Center is a center filled with activities and fun. Attached to the center is an outside pool that is only opened for the summer. They have open rooms used for programs like: mixed martial arts, dance, fitness, gymnastics, and much more. The rooms are also available for birthday parties, meetings, and other celebrations. There is a Tiny Tot Program affiliated with the center as well.
The center is also combined with Southridge Park that features amenities such as: tennis courts, basketball courts, mountain bike trails, baseball fields, playgrounds, and open spaces.
This Community Center is dedicated to the Senior Citizens in the area. The massive two-story 43,000 square foot building houses many rooms that provides Seniors with the learning environment they need. An arts and crafts room, art gallery, banquet and conference room, billiard and card parlor room, resting areas, computer lab and digital theater room and a library are just some of the many rooms the Center has to offer. The Center also provides programs and classes to tie in the rooms.
The Heritage Center is dedicated to helping citizens of all ages, from children-teens-adults. This center has many programs involving life enhancing classes that could be beneficial to teens as well as adults. The center has many rooms that can be used for arts and crafts, the Tiny Tots program, and rooms available for rental. There is a pool available with many programs involved in the summer.
This unique center is especially dedicated to teenagers. It is a place designed for teens to be teens in a safe environment and to keep them off the streets. There are all kinds of activities for the teens to do such as: arts and crafts, video games, Pool table, Foosball table, Ping Pong table, fitness equipment, a cyber center, indoor/outdoor activities, listening to music, and hosts many tournaments. There is also a skate park and hockey rink nearby the center too.
Upon opening to the public on October 25, 2008, Fontana Park (located in the northern part of the city at Summit Avenue and Lytle Creek Road), is now the city's second largest municipal park, featuring a large state-of-the-art community center (Jessie Turner Health and Fitness Community Center), aquatic center, skate park, dog park, basketball gym, sports pavilion, and several child-oriented play areas.
The Jessie Turner Health & Fitness Community Center has many unique classes and programs available all throughout the year such as: Tiny Tot program, day camps, holiday events and even multiple rooms that can be rented.
The Aquatics Center is open year-round, including access to heated pools. Most classes involving swim are available in the summer.
Fontana is also home to the Mary Vagle Nature Center. Situated at the base of Mount Jurupa in the southern part of the city, it offers an opportunity for a wide range of environmental education activities, including a reptile viewing area, displays, a diorama, and hands on programs. There is a 1-acre (4,000 m2) pond, three miles (4.8 km) of self-guided hiking trails, and the ninth most significant petroglyph site in the state. Hawks, rabbits, coyotes, rattlesnakes, foxes, and ducks thrive in this protected habitat.
Programs include: Nature Discovery Hikes (every first Saturday of the month), Adventures into Nature (every 2nd Saturday of the Month), Nature Rangers (every third Saturday of the month) and Earth Craft (the last Sunday of every month). There are also annual events such as: Arbor Day, Wild Zone, National Public Lands Day, and Evening Star Party. They also have Scout Programs (For various badges), a Summer Day Camp, Birthday Parties, Field Trips (From Kinder-College), and Eagle Scout opportunities.
Many dedicated individuals and community groups volunteer their efforts in working toward the beautification, preservation and maintenance of the Center.
The Miller Fitness Center is part of an effort to get residents the opportunity to get fit and in shape. The Center features free weights, elliptical machines, stationary bikes, treadmills, lockers, showers, racquetball courts and much more. The Miller Fitness Center also partners with Healthy Fontana to bring the public a chance to participate in a walking club.
Classes are available for people of all ages involving sports and fitness. The Center also has a pool readily available in the summer. Swim lessons are also taught at the Center.
Anthony Alexander The Voice
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