Wendy Leung, Staff Writer
Created: 01/19/2011 05:19:46 PM PST

RANCHO CUCAMONGA – The city’s future is bright, Mayor Dennis Michael told a group of community and business leaders at his first State of the City address on Wednesday at Etiwanda Gardens.

Michael displayed his optimistic outlook to a crowd of about 120 people at the annual luncheon hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. The former fire chief and newly elected mayor outlined a number of ongoing and future projects – including Foothill Boulevard’s widening and Hellman Avenue storm drain construction – as infrastructure developments that will help the city exit the economic slump.

“These projects not only benefit the community but they also help stimulate our local economy and create jobs right now,” Michael said. “This is just the type of jump start we need during a time when many businesses and families are being challenged due to our local and nation’s economy.”

A video simulation was shown of a widened Foothill Boulevard at the city’s western limits. The computer graphics showed a trailhead park and a Route 66-themed bridge near Baker Avenue.

Michael said the project, expected to be finished at the end of the year, will stimulate growth in an area that “needs it so drastically.”

“Words can’t describe how great this portion of Foothill Boulevard will look,” he said. “It will be the jewel of the entire stretch of Route 66.”

Later this year, construction will begin on Wilson Avenue from East Avenue to Wardman Bullock Road to provide a sidewalk and one lane of traffic each way in that northeast neighborhood.

Construction of the Hellman Fire Station in the Alta Loma neighborhood is also expected to be complete later in the year. The station, which will be equipped to fight hillside fires, has been in the fire district’s plans since the 1970s.

“Patience has truly paid off,” Michael said.

The mayor described an economic comeback on the horizon, with housing developers beginning to inquire about land and permitting processes and sales tax inching slightly upwards.

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