Out of concern for public safety, Fontana residents asked for better lighting at the city's parks, and city leaders took note of their request.
As a result, the Fontana City Council recently approved a $3.7 million energy services contract with Alliance Building Solutions Inc. (ABS) for lighting upgrades at the parks.
"We're going to get real lights in our parks!" Mayor Acquanetta Warren exclaimed after the proposal was unanimously ratified.
According to a staff report, the new lights will be very energy efficient, because the energy savings over the lifetime of the project will be equal to or greater than the project costs.
As part of the City's 2008 Parks, Recreation and Trails Master Plan and in preparation of the 2020 Master Plan update, two individual surveys of Fontana residents were conducted, the staff report said.
As part of the surveys, residents were asked to prioritize a list of improvements to existing parks. The results of both surveys ranked park lighting improvements as the number one priority.
So staff approached ABS and asked for a proposal to install energy efficient lighting at various city park locations.
"The goal is to improve the security lighting and sports field lighting at all existing parks, while reducing the amount of hours spent on maintenance," the staff report said.
The final proposal will provide updated security lighting at 30 different park sites and updated sports field lighting in 14 parks using Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology.
"I think it's a great idea," said Fontana Police Chief Billy Green. "Enhanced lighting is a big deterrent to criminal activity."
He said that the number of crimes committed at the city's parks has been "extremely low" when compared to the high percentage of residents who use the parks.
However, serious incidents have occasionally occurred.
Last September, a woman was shot and wounded during an altercation involving family members at Jack Bulik Park.
Back in 2016, a man was shot to death at Veterans Park and a teenager was shot to death at Bill Martin Park.
Green said the Police Department has increased patrols at the parks during high use times, creating a safer environment.