About the City of Fontana

Welcome to the City of Fontana!

Nestled against the San Bernardino Mountains, Fontana is a modern city that offers its residents and visitors a wealth of community activities, a thriving local economy and central access to major business centers.

Fontana is a General Law City governed by the codes adopted by the legislators of the State of California and the Fontana City, Municipal Code. Fontana is governed by an elected Mayor and four Council Members. The Mayor, Council Members, City Clerk, and City Treasurer are elected to four-year terms.

Fontana Steel Mill.jpgHow Fontana Began

Founded in 1913, Fontana is currently the second largest city in San Bernardino County, and the 19th largest in the State of California. Fontana began as an agricultural community in 1913 and became a thriving industrial town by 1942 due to the opening of the Henry J. Kaiser’s steel mill operations during World War II, on the outskirts of town. Kaiser Steel remained a primary source of employment and revenue until 1984 when it ceased operation. His legacy lives on at the Fontana Kaiser Permanente Facility, which now employs more than 6,000 people. Since then, the City has continued to grow rapidly due to several factors, including the development of the Kaiser Permanente Hospital facility (one of the largest medical facilities in the region) and the unparalleled population growth stimulating major residential, commercial, and industrial development.

Fontana's Unique Location

The City of Fontana was incorporated on June 25, 1952. The City and its Sphere of Influence (SOI) encompass an area of approximately 52.4 square miles and contain a population of approximately 213,000 people. It is located in San Bernardino County, approximately 50 miles east of Los Angeles. Due to its geographic location, the City is identified as “…the crossroads of the Inland Empire” (Fontana Chamber of Commerce, 2008).

Fontana continues to be a vital hub for the supply chain, due to the City’s location at the crossroads of major trade routes (I-10, I-15, and SR-210) and the presence of the Union Pacific Railroad. The City is also home to many large retailers and small businesses. The Fontana Metrolink station provides a low-stress commuting option for residents working in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Fontana Continues to Grow

Today, more than 213,000 people call the City of Fontana home. Fontana’s low crime rate, affordable housing, diversity, and below-average unemployment rate has made the city one of the fastest-growing in California and a trendsetter in San Bernardino County. Temperate southern California weather allows the City to host festivals, parades and walks/races throughout the year (including the Fontana Days Half Marathon, considered the fastest half-marathon course in the world).

Fontana is particularly proud of its numerous cultural, sporting, and recreational opportunities, including those offered by Center Stage Theater, the Art Depot, the Auto Club Speedway, 59 sports fields including the Dodgers Dreamfield, 48 parks, Pacific Electric Trail, highly acclaimed sports and recreation facilities, and the state-of-the-art Lewis Library and Technology Center. The Center is an iconic landmark within the City - offering the largest collection and library space in all of San Bernardino County, as well as computer workstations, a career center, a literacy center, homework clubs and tutoring, meeting rooms, and a large auditorium.

Five school districts serve Fontana’s children, offering a variety of educational opportunities. Chaffey Community College also maintains campuses in Fontana, offering a multitude of general education and career advancement courses.

In 2008, after reviewing data from the United States Census Bureau, the National Center for Education Statistics, the National Center for Health Statistics, and the American Bar Association, Best Life magazine deemed Fontana the 24th best place to raise a family in the United States. Fontana was named one of the Nation's 100 Best Communities for Young People by America's Promise Alliance and ING in 2008 and again in 2010.

In 2014, Fontana was named in the Top 20 Safest Cities in the Nation by Business Insider and in 2017, Fontana was named the second strongest City financially by the Fiscal Times. In 2018, Fontana was named the Most Prosperous City in California and the Fourth Most Prosperous in the United States by RENTCafe.

Fontana's Mission Statement

"We seek and embrace every opportunity to enrich the lives of those who live, work, play and invest in the City of Fontana." 

The City is committed to encouraging the health and wellness of its residents through programs like the award-winning Healthy Fontana initiative, which promotes smart nutrition, active lifestyles and access to healthy, fresh. The Fontana Senior Center is another important facility, offering daily activities for seniors focused on mental and physical well-being, including crafts, fitness center, computer lab, daily hot lunches, and transportation. With several senior housing projects located nearby, the Senior Center is full of activity every day. The Fontana Veteran’s Resource Center also provides valuable services to the brave men and women who have served our country, including workshops, seminars, outreach programs and strategic partnerships all targeted to the unique needs of our veterans.

We welcome you to the City of Fontana, and hope you take some time to explore our website and our beautiful city!

Timeline of Our History

1905Upon purchasing 17,000 acres in what was first called Rosena in 1905, Azaerial Blanchard (A.B.) Miller used 200 horses, mules, plows and scrapers to transform the area into citrus fruit orchards, poultry farms and cattle farms
1913Rosena is renamed Fontana
Fountain Fontana Blue PNG no background.png*Translated from Italian, Fontana means Fountain, as depicted in the current city logo*
1942Henry J. Kaiser opens Kaiser Steel Mill on the outskirts of town. Kaiser Steel remained a primary source of employment and revenue until 1984 when it ceased operation. This steel mill was the first on the West Coast to supply rolled steel plates needed to build Liberty and Victory ships during World War IIaerial w_kaiser
Aerial view of Kaiser Steel Mill

1952The City of Fontana was incorporated on June 25, 1952
City of Fontana Seal
1957The State of California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) adopts plans to construct Interstate 15, connecting Fontana to San Diego County and locations north through the Cajon Pass. Currently there are 6 miles of the I-15 that runs in or close to city limits
1965The construction of Interstate 10 connects Fontana to the rest of the eastern part of the country
1984Kaiser Steel Mill halts operations and makes health care plan public
1995-97The construction of the Auto Club Speedway begins in 1995 on the site of the former Kaiser Steel Mill. After being completed in late 1996, NASCAR has hosted races at this raceway since 1997
2000The Los Angeles Times names Fontana as one of the fastest growing cities in Southern California
2003A 20-mile freeway segment from Glendora to Fontana is completed
2007The remaining freeway section east of I-15 between Fontana and the I-215 opens in July
2008With valiant efforts from the City of Fontana and regional partners, Fontana opens the largest library in San Bernardino County, the Lewis Library and Technology Center.
2008The Fontana Park Aquatic Center opens
2010The U.S. Census Bureau Reports 196,458 residents in Fontana at the conclusion of the 2010 Census
2010Residents elect the city's first female and first African American to serve as mayor
2017The Fontana City Council establishes and implements by-district elections for City Council members. Ordinance 1767 is adopted outlining four districts
2018The City of Fontana holds its first elections based on the newly-formed city council Districts 1 and 4. The position of mayor, city clerk, and city treasurer continues to be elected at large
2019The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation’s 51st Dodgers Dreamfield unveils at Jack Bulik Park on June 22
2020The City of Fontana holds its first elections based on the newly-formed city council Districts 2 and 3