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Final Decision on Ontario Grant: $35 Million to Transform Downtown

Ontario receives state staff recommendation for $35 million grant to transform downtown; final decision expected Jan. 29

ONTARIO, Calif. – Ontario has moved one step closer to a $35 million grant to transform its downtown area into a modern urban village – creating new opportunities for individuals, businesses and the city as a whole – after receiving the key endorsement of the California Strategic Growth Council staff.

A final decision by te Strategic Growth Council itself is expected Jan. 29. The money, through California’s Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) Program, would boost the city’s efforts to revitalize its downtown with high-quality multimodal transportation, affordable housing, “urban greening,” solar energy, a small business incubator and workforce training.

The applicant field had been whittled down to two finalists – Ontario and Sacramento – but after a review and site visit, Ontario learned this past week that it had received the recommendation of the Strategic Growth Council staff.

“This funding would create so many opportunities within our city as we look to reinvent, and revitalize, our downtown area. To be this close to final approval is a testament the leadership of our City Council and the remarkable community partnerships we’ve been able to build through the years,” said Paul S. Leon, Mayor of Ontario.

The City Council approved a resolution in August to pursue the TCC funds, which are designed to support transformative, neighborhood-level projects that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and create healthier, more resilient communities. With the City Council’s leadership and support, and through programs such as the Healthy Ontario Initiative and the Ontario HEAL Zone, the city has aggressively pursued climate-smart practices designed to improve the quality of life and well-being of all residents.

“Ontario has always been a model city, and this is one more example of that,” said Alan D. Wapner, Mayor pro Tem. He noted, in particular, the public transportation improvements and transit-oriented developments that are part of the city’s downtown plan, which will reduce carbon emissions while also creating new vitality – and economic opportunity – in and around the downtown area.

“The very nature of downtowns has changed significantly over the years,” Wapner said. “We have the opportunity to do something very different, and build on Ontario’s role as an economic driver for Southern California.”

City Council members praised city staff, stakeholders and elected leadership in Sacramento for their work in supporting and helping develop a plan that will uplift lives and create long-term benefits for the community at large.

“The Ontario City Council is proud to have a highly-skilled staff that was able to implement our vision for revitalizing downtown and leading the way toward building a better community,” said Council Member Jim Bowman.

“We are proud that this application was the product of true community partnership.  Many community organizations came together with us to create plans to improve downtown,” said Council Member Debra Dorst-Porada

“Our state legislative representatives were very supportive throughout our entire application process.  They were champions of Ontario because it would be a win for the entire region as well as the City,” said Council Member Ruben Valencia.