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Sunnyside parks & rec department has new home

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The Sunnyside Parks and Recreation Department is now located at the Sunnyside Community Center (in the background) at South Hill Park.

Next year, the Sunnyside Parks and Recreation Department will celebrate 25 years of serving the community. And now, the parks and recreation department staff will have a new home to celebrate their silver anniversary.

As of Dec. 1, the parks and recreation department can be found at the Sunnyside Community Center at South Hill Park, after spending nearly 20 years at Sunnyside City Hall on Edison Avenue. The move comes a day after the Washington State Migrant Council (WSMC) terminated its management contract for the community center with the city.

There will be some benefits to having the parks and recreation department at the Sunnyside Community Center, which is now under control of city officials, believes parks and recreation department assistant coordinator Joan Niemeyer.

"I think it is important people realize we are out here," said Niemeyer.

One of the crucial changes in the parks and recreation department is its hours of operation. Currently, the City of Sunnyside staff works a four-day, 10-hour schedule, off on Fridays. But with the parks and recreation department being located at the community center, staff hours for those employees have been changed to Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The parks and recreation department has hired two employees, both of whom worked for the Migrant Council when it operated the community center. Niemeyer said the two part-time employees will help cover hours of operation for the center.

Niemeyer said she is also looking at maintaining some of the programs the Migrant Council had in place.

"We definitely have some plans in the works," said Niemeyer.

One of the programs is an open gymnasium after school for Sunnyside children.

"We want to encourage kids to come in after school," said Niemeyer.

Niemeyer said she is looking forward to working with the community at the new parks and recreation department office.

Niemeyer said the community center will continue to remain open to groups that have been using the building for meetings. She also wants the public to know the community center is available for private rentals.

For more information about the activities going on at the parks and recreation department, call 836-0036 or 837-8660.

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