The community of Arlanza has a very interesting history dating back to the early 1800’s. It started out as a portion of Rancho La Sierra that stretched out to Lake Mathews and belonged to Vicente Sepulveda. In 1942 the Army bought 1,250 acres of the former Rancho west of Van Buren Boulevard, on both sides of Arlington Avenue. This was the beginning of Camp Anza, which during World War II served as an embarkation point/staging center for more than 600,000 soldiers passing on to the Pacific, with more than 20,000 men housed at the camp at one time. In 1961, when the University of California and the surrounding area annexed into the City of Riverside, Arlanza did the same. The old Army barracks were converted to homes on newly subdivided land. Arlanza’s history as a military encampment can be seen in some of the original Army structures that remain today. Over time, Arlanza’s population has grown considerably and the neighborhood still has great potential for continued growth and revitalization.
The neighborhood is one of the most geographically diverse neighborhoods of the City as it contains a mix of nearly every type of land use found in Riverside. The neighborhood is bordered by the Santa Ana River wildlife area to the north, by the La Sierra Acres neighborhood to the west, the La Sierra and Arlington neighborhoods to the south, and Van Buren Boulevard is to the east. Arlanza’s residential areas range from semi-rural home sites to high density apartments, with much of the residential area made up of medium density single-family tract development. The neighborhood also includes intensive urban commercial and industrial development. A wide variety of retail uses can be found along Van Buren Boulevard at the eastern boundary of the neighborhood. At the south side of Arlington Avenue a short distance west of Van Buren Boulevard is a 76-acre industrial site known as “Rohr” plant which opened in 1952 to manufacture aircraft and rocket parts for the commercial and military aerospace industry. In 1997, the plant was acquired by BF Goodrich, which continues manufacturing operations at this location.
The neighborhood has many schools including Arlanza, Foothill and Terrace Elementary Schools, Wells Intermediate School, and Norte Vista High School. Parks within the neighborhood include Bryant, Challen Hill, El Dorado, Rutland and a portion of the larger Santa Ana River Wildlife Area. Traversing the neighborhood, within the Santa Ana River Wildlife area, is the Santa Ana River Trail which will eventually span 100 miles from the crest of the San Bernardino Mountains to the ocean, linked with a series of parks along the way. Other important community facilities include the recently expanded and renovated Arlanza Community Center within Bryant Park. The expansion included the addition of an 11,500 square-foot fitness center offering a variety of recreational activities for all ages. Also within Bryant Park is the Eric M. Solander Center.