The Concerned Neighbors of Bloomington are speaking out in opposition to the forthcoming Howard Industrial Partners warehouse development project that will demolish 213 homes in the community.
The affected homes are along Santa Ana Avenue to the north, Maple Avenue and Linden Avenues to the east, Jurupa Avenue to the south, and Alder Avenue to the west.
The developer plans on releasing its Environmental Impact Report in late spring and in the meantime, residents are asking neighbors to sign a public letter before February 8 to call on the County Board of Supervisors to reject the development project and to instead find alternatives that advance economic and environmental justice.
“There are so many inconsistencies with the community-led plans the county has previously committed to. When planning with the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors we envisioned Bloomington to keep its rural, family-oriented nature, not be turned into a warehouse mecca. We asked for sidewalks, road improvements, sewers, new houses, and more grocery stores,” said resident Thomas Rocha.
The Bloomington Business Park Specific Plan would result in the County of San Bernardino changing the zoning from large acre residential to medium density residential of 24 acres by San Bernardino Avenue to the south, Hawthorne Avenue to the north, and Locust Avenue to the west.
In recent years, the neighborhood has already endured the development of the Slover Distribution Center, which is only half a mile away from Bloomington High School.
Hundreds of neighbors whose homes are located off Laurel Avenue have formed together to speak out in fear of what the future could hold should this proposed distribution center come to fruition.
“Some of the biggest concerns these residents are facing include emissions from diesel pollution, which are known to cause asthma and even an array of cancers. This neighborhood’s level of contamination is already filled with many carcinogens; it’s like smoking a pack of cigarettes per day,” shared Andrea Vidaurre, Peoples Collective for Environmental Justice representative.
The residents are saying the success of e-commerce in the Inland Empire has disproportionately brought air quality and health burdens to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.
“In 2020, Southern California experienced 157 bad ozone and smog days and had up to 30 days of excessive particle pollution. Particle and smog pollution are both driven up by diesel truck pollution and have also been linked to higher COVID-19 mortality rates. Approving this project with lackluster input from affected homeowners is a form of environmental racism and injustice. They’re turning Bloomington into a diesel death zone,” said Anthony Victoria, People’s Collective for Environmental Justice communications coordinator.
Some other complaints in the neighborhood include concern over increased traffic, outdoor safety for children, and noise.
“One of my many concerns is the increase of traffic in the area, especially on Cedar Avenue as we’ve already experienced large bouts of it with an increase of diesels going back and forth to warehouse ports in our neighborhood. What should be a 15-minute work commute to Riverside now takes me upwards of an hour on Thursdays and Fridays,” shared resident Melissa Gomez.
While traffic is a concern for many, almost all residents of Bloomington hold concern over the air quality for children in the community.
“The Slover Distribution Center is so close to Bloomington High School. I have one child who attends this school and two other children who will be attending soon and I’m so concerned with them outdoors playing sports due to the air quality. With the proposed site I would literally have a warehouse in my backyard and lose the essence of our outdoor livelihood due to being boxed in by logistic centers,” said resident Ana Carlos.
As the Concerned Neighbors of Bloomington were never formally notified of the project, they are calling upon the community to sign its petition to put a stop to the Bloomington Business Park Specific Plan at https://bit.ly/3reKVvn.