Monday, February 11, 2008

City spotlight: Fremont

History: With an area of 92 square miles, Fremont is the fifth-largest California city by area and the fourth-largest by population in the Bay Area. It began with the founding of Mission San Jose in 1797. That area and four nearby communities - Centerville, Niles, Irvington and Warm Springs - merged in 1956 to become the city of Fremont.

What excites you the most about Fremont's future? As we just celebrated our 50th anniversary as an incorporated city in 2006, Fremont continues to make significant investment in our infrastructure. Over $75 million is being spent to build a new overpass and underpass in order to facilitate the BART expansion to the Warm Springs district in Fremont and then on to San Jose. Another $15 million is being spent to build a new Family Water Play facility at Central Park.

What troubles you the most about Fremont's future? Like many cities that are transforming from a suburban to an urban environment, Fremont is facing difficult land-use decisions with a limited amount of vacant land available.

What is the biggest opportunity in your community? The Oakland A's proposed Ballpark Village, which includes a new 32,000-seat ballpark, 540,000 square feet of retail development, and around 3,150 housing units located next to the Pacific Commons retail center at I-880 and Auto Mall Parkway.

What is Fremont's biggest asset? The people. Fremont is home to a diverse, highly educated, globally connected population. Students in our top ranked school system speak over 100 different languages at home, over 44 percent of residents over the age of 18 have a bachelor's degree or graduate degree, and a large percentage of Fremont companies have satellite operations around the world (primarily in Asia).

What is its biggest liability? Continuing uncertainty on local revenues due to takeaways by the state of California.

What is the most important development project going or to come soon? The Oakland A's proposed Ballpark Village.

What is something people don't know about your community? Fremont is home to over 1,000 high-tech companies and has a thriving biotech/life sciences industry cluster.

Population: 211,662
Biggest private employer: New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI)
No. of NUMMI employees: 5,000
Number of business licenses: 12,000
Jobs in Fremont: 105,500
Average household income: $122,388
Median home price, November '07: $642,500
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