Newark is a city with a rich regional history, key geographic position, and strong independent streak. Incorporated in 1955, Newark was initially slated to join several of its smaller neighbors and incorporate into what later became the city of Fremont. However, the inhabitants of Newark changed their mind at the last minute and decided to proceed on their own. This sense of self-determination has served them well as the city continues to be a major economic and cultural presence, though low key, in both the San Francisco Bay and Silicon Valley areas.
Lay of the Land
Located in Alameda Valley, Newark is positioned on the southern edge of the San Francisco Bay and is surrounded completely by the Bay and the city of Fremont. While Fremont is its only direct neighbor, the city benefits from being 35 miles from San Francisco, 30 miles from Oakland, and 20 miles from San Jose. This puts the city in perfect position to take advantage of all of the opportunities presented by both the Bay Area and Silicon Valley regions. The “in-the-middle” nature of the city is further reflected in the financial demographics of the city. While the median household income of $86,189 and estimated median home value of $455,115 are both above states averages, they are generally below the averages of the more affluent cities in the region. Newark presents relatively affordable housing option at a reasonable commute distance to almost any Bay Area employment center.
One of the most significant ways in which the city of Newark benefits from its geographic location is the availability multiple transportation options. Ground transportation is possible thanks to the nearby intersection of Interstate 880 and State Route 84. Public transportation within the Bay area is possible via the Bay Area Rapid Transit system and within the county via the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District. Additionally, a short trip to the south opens up access to services provided by the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority. Each of these three providers offer a wide range of buses, trains, or light rail services covering the entirety of their respective regions. Finally, San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose each feature a major public airport.
Like many of the cities considered part of the Silicon Valley area, the primary economic driver in the city of Newark is the technology research and development industry. This includes corporate offices for many major national companies including Infosys and several comparable software development companies. However, the city also serves as the epicenter of the burgeoning regional biotechnology and clean technologies industries. Numerous startup companies in both sectors call Newark home with additional corporations popping up every year.
On the commercial side of things, the city also houses the Newpark Mall. The mall is a 1,161,681 square foot center for commerce housing over 140 different retail locations. While the mall is technically located in Newark, it draws in customers from nearby Fremont and Union City adding to the city’s coffers. The mall also features numerous restaurants and smaller specialty food locations. While not the only source of shopping and dining in the city, the Newpark Mall is the most comprehensive.
Education is highly valued in this Silicon Valley feeder community. Newark features many elementary schools ultimately leading to two high schools. Ohlone College is a member of the California Community College System.
Finally, Newark is also a city that is dedicated to the maintenance of several parks designed to provide residents with relaxing locations and recreational areas while preserving the natural state of the city. To this end, there is over 153 acres of dedicated park space spread out over a total of 15 parks within the city of Newark. Many of these locations are smaller neighborhood parks, several acres at most, with rudimentary facilities. However, the George M. Silliman Recreational Complex and the Community Center Park are located on 20 and 16 acres respectively. They feature multiple sports fields and facilities for hosting large scale community events.