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Moreno Valley, CA (Population: 174,565)

Moreno Valley is a city in Riverside County with a population of 174,565 (2006). Following explosive growth in the 1980s and 2000s, Moreno Valley became one of the population centers of the Inland Empire. Its relative proximity to Los Angeles, along with its low land and housing values, has made Moreno Valley a popular exurban city.

Moreno Valley’s most distinguishing feature is Box Springs Mountain, which towers over the northwest end and is visible from almost anywhere in the city. The mountain face that is visible to the city has a giant “M” constructed upon it, based on the idea that the letter is a unifying symbol. The giant “M” is maintained by charities and Eagle Scout troops.

The city’s neighbor, to which it has close ties, is Riverside. Riverside is the county seat and also the largest city in the county. Among the assets the two cities share is the March Air Force Base. The U.S. Census Bureau ranks Moreno Valley the sixth fastest growing city in the United States. The city continues to come of age, as exemplified by the rapidly growing area surrounding Moreno Valley Mall and Day Street. This area has seen a great deal of new construction in recent years, inviting a vast array of popular retailers in hopes of bringing more money into the city.