The New Year has arrived in Fontana, but it feels eerily similar to the previous one. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still the main concern on citizens’ minds.
The epidemic peaked in January 2021 before decreasing to very low levels, allowing the city to return to a (still restricted) sense of normalcy last winter. After being closed down in March of 2020, schools resumed in-person learning and various city-sponsored events were held.
The new outbreak of infections caused by the Omicron variety has heightened tensions once more, reminding us that the virus is still a big concern. The number of new cases has increased considerably, and hospitalizations are beginning to rise again.
Nonetheless, many inhabitants are determined to go forward with their lives, and city officials aim to build on the excellent progress made in 2021.
——- THE OPENING OF CENTRAL CITY PARK, a magnificent 14.5-acre recreational complex, was one of the city’s biggest triumphs last year. Two synthetic turf football/soccer fields and one synthetic turf soccer-only field are part of the $14 million park at 8380 Cypress Avenue.
The next goal will be to complete South Fontana Park, which will be located on Santa Ana Avenue between Cypress and Juniper avenues and will be another major, long-awaited project. According to the city’s website, construction will begin soon, with a preliminary completion date of December.
——- THE Ventana at Duncan Canyon Specific Plan, which broke ground in 2021, is another massive project for the city.
In the city’s northwestern reaches, the project will include a 105-acre master-planned mixed-use village. Both north and south of Duncan Canyon Road, Ventana will include a corporate office corridor adjacent to the Interstate 15 Freeway. According to the city’s website, it will comprise mid-rise offices, multi-story buildings, hotels, fine business restaurants, and other complementing commercial uses.
——— WHILE SEARCHING FOR A REPLACEMENT FOR Mark Denny, who resigned as city manager in October of last year, THE CITY WILL ALSO BE STRIVING TO MAINTAIN ITS STRONG FINANCIAL SITUATION.
Fontana is set to profit significantly from the federal government’s tens of millions of dollars supplied through the American Rescue Plan Act, which was approved by Congress in early 2021.
The city has created a list of prospective applications for the monies from all departments, and the ideas will be presented to the City Council at a meeting later this month.
The $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by Congress last November will also benefit the local area, however the city claimed that viable uses and projects have yet to be decided.
—— THE CITY WILL ALSO CONTINUE TO FACE CONTROVERSY RELATED TO THE CONTINUING DEVELOPMENT OF WAREHOUSE PROJECTS.
Some members of the City Council have advocated for larger warehouses, claiming that logistics hubs produce much-needed jobs.
Opponents, notably City Councilmember Jesse Sandoval and several residents in southern Fontana, argue that the warehouses pollute the environment and cause excessive traffic.
The city of Jurupa Hills was sued by California Attorney General Rob Bonta in July, disputing the city’s approval of the Slover and Oleander Warehouse Project, which was located adjacent to Jurupa Hills High School.
In response to the criticism, the City Council directed city workers to investigate the city’s air quality thoroughly. The goal, according to the city, will be to develop a strict warehouse legislation to improve air quality and standardize criteria for all warehouse expansions in Fontana.
It’s uncertain whether this rule, once enacted, will satisfy environmental groups that have chastised the city in recent years for its support for warehouses.
This November, Mayor Acquanetta Warren and City Councilmembers John Roberts and Phillip Cothran will face reelection.