A new city may be coming to the Inland Empire

Out in what used to be the wide open spaces south of Hemet area 3 small communities have grown up out of the sage New City of Menifee Valleybrush and rolling hills and the southern range of the Santa Ana Mountains.....They are Sun City, Romoland and Menifee....The new community will be known as Menifee Valley, encompassing some 600 square miles north of Temecula.

Sun City is a census-designated area in Riverside County......The population was 17,773 at the 2000 census......Sun City is the a master-planned community for active adults (the club's catchphrase for senior citizens over age 55) built by Del Webb in the 1960's.

The four-square mile residential community has two public golf courses, two recreation centers with tennis courts and swimming pools, and a "small-town" of small shops for resident consumers......Another development boom arrived in the late 1980's and 1990's with another master-planned community on the southeast edge of Sun City called Menifee, and as of 2005, the one-square-mile area of homes, condos, schools, retail shops, golf courses and tennis courts still grows.....What is amazing about this area, is that most of the people who live in Menifee, work in either Orange or LA counties....Aside from the small shops and local fast food eateries, there're are no large scale business's in the area....Only a lot of Avocado Groves and Golf Courses.

There are several highways that provide access into the valley....the 15 drops south from Corona and you can cross over from Lake Elsinore on Highway 74 which will take you over to the 215....If you were to continue south on the 215 past the Hemet exit on highway 74, you will drive into the northern community areas of Sun city,

Recently, there has been an effort to incorporate Sun City and some or all of the nearby areas of Menifee and Romoland as Menifee Valley. As of September 2006, Riverside County is currently investigating the viability of the proposed new city.

The only Hospital in the area is the Menifee Valley Medical Center....It is a General Acute Care Hospital in Sun City with Basic Emergency Services as of 2005.

Menifee is an unincorporated area just to the south of Sun city......Menifee is one of the three primary communities that make up the greater Menifee Valley. Other communities include Sun City, California and Quail Valley, California.......The estimated population of Menifee Valley as of 2005 is 69,000, according to the Menifee Sun City Chamber of Commerce.........Estimations project that over the next 15 years, Menifee Valley will be home to over 250,000 residents........There are many new home projects in Menifee, making it a potential hot spot for young families.

Romoland is an area to the west of Hemet but south of Winchester. The population was 2,764 at the 2000 census.............The city was named by Greek immigrant Romonio Homonicholai, who emigrated from Naxos in 1889 (nearby Homeland is also named for Homonicholai, although, with a slight spelling variation, it was named for his patronymic, not his given name)...........The Homonicholai family planted a vineyard in the town as well as orange groves, and was the first to manufacture sangria in California.

By 1905, cultivation of oranges and other agricultural produce had begun in the area, and Romoland and nearby Hemet entered in a dispute over which city would obtain a lucrative terminus for the Southern Pacific Railroad.........To settle the dispute, city fathers agreed to have the mayors of the cities compete in a boxing match..........."Battlin'" Dan Beecham of Hemet defeated Ronald Arcia of Romoland in a May 14, 1906 bout, and the railroad terminus was awarded to Hemet.

The first blood oranges were cultivated in the United States in Romoland in the 1920s............In an attempt to build a larger market for the oranges, the Romoland Fruit Co. began in 1936 to market its blood oranges as "citrus tomatoes" on the idea that the word "blood" discouraged buyers...........However, "citrus tomatoes" proved unsuccessful, and the Romoland Fruit Co. returned to marketing its oranges as "blood oranges" in 1937.

During World War II, Romoland led the nation in the production of burlap sandbags used for field fortifications. In 1945, Adolf Berle visited Romoland and proclaimed it the sandbagging capital of America.

In 2006, construction began on a $500 million energy plant in Romoland. The plant will use General Electric’s latest gas turbine technology to generate electricity for Riverside County, one of the fastest growing regions in the nation. The project will provide more than 500 construction jobs over the next three years and about two-dozen jobs when it opens......The New Diamond Lake will provide water for this project.

So before long dont be surprised to see new signs on the 215, or the 74, indicating a new destination....the Menifee Valley.

Gary Hall, the ghostpainter

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