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Plans to avoid water contamination murky

City Engineer Jim Bridges this past Monday night provided the Sunnyside City Council with a status report on the South First Street project.

Earlier this month, Bridges said, Gray & Osborne engineering firm held an open public meeting to discuss different proposals for the million upgrade of South First Street.

The South First Street improvement project is being funded through a $1.4 million direct appropriation from the federal government. Sen. Patty Murray was directly involved with helping former Sunnyside City Manager Dave Fonfara obtain the funding.

Bridges admitted he was a bit disappointed by the public meeting turnout. Bridges said the meeting was advertised and his staff went through the area putting up notices of the meeting.

"The folks who were there were generally in favor of it," said Bridges.

Representatives from local businesses in the area of South First Street, which included PW Pipe, Chevron and Bi-Mart, were the ones mainly in attendance at the meeting earlier this month.

"They were very excited about the project," said Bridges.

The purpose of the meeting, noted Bridges, was to provide information on the different designs possible for the reconstruction. The pros and cons of a roundabout versus a traffic signal to control some 9,000 vehicles on average traveling each day along South First Street were shared with the two dozens citizens in attendance.

Design and the initial groundwork for the South First Street improvement is scheduled to start this fall, as soon as water subsides in a nearby Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District ditch, said Bridges. The initial phases of the project will start after two more public meetings take place later this summer. Gray & Osborne is also scheduled to make a report to Council on the project June 28.

Bridges told Council that he invites residents from throughout the community to provide comment on the South First Street project. Bridges added that the project is for the entire community and he would like to see what everyone thinks.

. Mike Kantman can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at mkantman@eaglenewspapers.com

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