The City of Ontario had hundreds of young ghosts, ghouls and goblins pack the Anthony Munoz Community Center Friday night to get a sneak peek of the facility’s upcoming expansion and – in a fitting Halloween twist – leave their imprint for all eternity.
The center, at 1240 W. Fourth St., combined its annual Halloween party with a preview of the renovation project, which will nearly quadruple the center’s size and significantly increase the number of community program and class offerings.
The night included the opportunity for children to take part in creating a public art piece that will part of the center’s permanent design. Participants had their hands stamped, scanned versions of which will be incorporated into the piece by a professional artist.
“The expansion of the Anthony Munoz Community Center is another fitting tribute to our Hometown Hall of Famer, but even more important, a wonderful new amenity for our residents and our community,” said Mayor Paul Leon. “The fact that kids will have an actual hand in the design make this an even more special celebration.”
Munoz, an Ontario native and Chaffey High School graduate, spent 13 seasons in the NFL as a star offensive tackle and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998. He has spent much of his adult life giving back to the community he grew up in, holding football camps and donating vast amounts of time and money through his Anthony Munoz Foundation.
The renovation will increase the center’s size from its current 2,500 square feet to about 12,000 square feet. It will include a large multipurpose room that can convert into two activity rooms, a tot classroom, two outdoor courtyards, a kitchen and a swimming pool. In addition, the expanded center will offer more than 50 programs and classes weekly for community members, including dance, art & music.
The City has budgeted $9.85 million for the expansion project.
“Improving our community facilities and parks has been and remains a major priority for the City. The Munoz Center expansion is a great example of how we’re investing now in projects that will serve our community well into the future,” said Mayor pro Tem Alan D. Wapner.
“This is all about preserving and enhancing the quality of life of our growing City, and making sure every resident has the opportunity to take part in a wide variety of cultural, educational and recreational programs,” said Councilmember Jim Bowman.
Councilmember Debi Dorst-Porada said she is happy that Munoz Park is getting a new facility. “This park has been needing these upgrades for a long time. Once finished the City will be able to offer additional services for our residents.”
Added Councilmember Ruben Valencia, “It’s not just the size of the project, but the added programs and services that will be offered and available to the community at large. This expansion has been one of our most highly anticipated projects in recent years, and it’s exciting to see it move one step closer to reality.”