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On November 6, 1905, the Los Angeles Interurban Railway started service on the Santa Ana Line. It ran along an almost perfectly straight line between Watts (Los Angeles) and Santa Ana. Access to transportation allowed the population of the rural area which is now Stanton and West Anaheim to grow. In 1908, the privately owned Pacific Electric Railway leased the Santa Ana Line and took over the service which extended its regional light-rail system. By 1928, the impressive thousand mile system allowed residents convenient travel throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties. See 1928 Map. The passenger service to Santa Ana was discontinued in 1950, shortly after the railway was taken over by the Metropolitan Transportation Agency. The easement still runs through town and is empty or used for parking. It intersects Beach/Pacific and Cerritos/Western.
The area was incorporated into the first City of Stanton in 1911. It was decided to dis-incorporate in 1924. The motivation for giving up cityhood seems to be that it would relieve city taxpayers from the financial burden of building roads. As an un-incorporated area, roads were paid for by the state. Also the main motivation for the 1911 incorporation — the city of Anaheim's 1911 plan to build a “sewage farm” west if their city — was no longer relevant. The costs of cityhood were greater than the benefit.
In the early 1950s, the area had experienced a post-war population boom, and in May 1956 the citizens decided to incorporate into today’s City of Stanton. The first city was around 16 square miles (41 km2), and today's Stanton is a bit over three square miles. The cost of being incorporated into a city is still a salient issue in this part of the county. There are many small areas around Stanton which are un-incorporated and receive their services from the County of Orange.
The City of Stanton mitigates the high costs of cityhood for a relatively small population by contracting out municipal services. Most of the police services and fire protection are provided by the Orange County’s Sheriff’s Department and Orange County Fire Authority respectively. Ambulance service is provided by a private company, Care Ambulance Service. Stanton had formed its own police department when the city incorporated in 1956, but a union strike citing poor working conditions was originally reported as the major cause of its disbanding (and takeover by the Sheriff's Department) in 1988. The City's crime rate has decreased 40% from 2007 to 2013.
West Covina was incorporated as an independent city in 1923 to prevent the city of Covina from building a sewage farm in the area. Walnut groves and orange groves continued to flourish during the subsequent decades. The population in 1930 was 769 and blossomed to 1,549 in 1940. As a result of remarkable expansion during the post World War II building boom, West Covina became one of the fastest growing cities between 1950 and 1960 in the United States with the population increasing 1,000 per cent from less than 5,000 to more than 50,000 citizens. The last two decades have continued to demonstrate steady growth until late 2009 slowing to 0.8% growth. The number of residents expanded to a total of 96,242 as of the 1990 Census.
The City of West Covina began the second half of the 20th century with new developments and projects, mostly brought on by big business. The City Hall and police facility were built in 1969 as the first phase of an example of a Joint Powers Authority in the County of Los Angeles. The Civic Center Joint Powers Authority, consisting of the County of Los Angeles and the City of West Covina, also completed a three-level parking structure in the Civic Center complex. The Civic Center complex includes the Los Angeles County Regional Library and the Citrus Municipal Court building and the city offices.
The first Redevelopment Agency project included a regional shopping center, the West Covina Fashion Plaza, with three major department stores and 150 shops in an air-conditioned, enclosed mall. It also included the revitalization of the older sections of the shopping center. The Fashion Plaza has provided the citizens of the San Gabriel Valley with convenient access to all shopping needs. In 1991 the mall was renovated adding a food court and additional shops, as well as the redecorating of the entire mall. The mall was renamed "The Plaza at West Covina". The Plaza opened a new 100,000 sq ft (9,300 m2). wing in October 1993 featuring 50 new stores including a new Robinson's-May and interior renovation throughout The Plaza.
The Redevelopment Agency's efforts have also resulted in several major office buildings in the city, such as "The Lakes", in addition to two new community shopping centers, freestanding retail developments, restaurants, residential projects, and the Auto Plaza.
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