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Sunnyside on the move, reports city engineer

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City of Sunnyside Engineer Jim Bridges talks to members of the Sunnyside Daybreak Rotary Club Wednesday morning about the different improvement projects taking place in Sunnyside.

Driving through Sunnyside it is becoming apparent that something is happening here. There is land being moved at several locations around town, surveyors are out taking careful notes and counter strips have been laid out on several streets.

"The city has a lot of exciting projects on board," said City of Sunnyside Engineer Jim Bridges.

Bridges served as the guest speaker at the Sunnyside Daybreak Rotary Club meeting Wednesday morning. During his presentation Bridges talked about the different projects taking place in Sunnyside, including the addition of several new housing developments, as well as improvements that are planned for South First Street and the wastewater treatment plant.

Bridges said the city received $1.4 million in funding for the South First Street project, which will help improve the entrance into town.

"It will enhance that corridor," Bridges said.

He explained that the project is aimed at making the street more attractive for use by both vehicle traffic and pedestrians.

As for the wastewater treatment plant, Bridges said the city has received a $750,000 loan from the Public Works Trust Fund, which will help pay for improvements to the plant.

"As you know we've had some struggles with the plant," Bridges told Rotarians.

He said the money from the state trust fund is just part of the funding the city is hoping to receive for the project. Bridges explained that the city is still waiting to hear back on $12.3 million in funding from the Department of Ecology and $1 million in grant funding from the federal government.

Bridges then turned his attention to the Sunnyside Municipal Airport. He talked to Rotarians about the completion of the repaving of the airstrip, which took place last fall.

He said the project has created an attractive base for the facility, making it more appealing to people who might want to begin housing their planes in Sunnyside as opposed to Prosser or Yakima.

In fact, Bridges said a flight school has recently showed interest in relocating to the Sunnyside airport. He told Rotarians the school would help expose people to different aviation opportunities, as well as lead to possible growth at the airport facility. He explained that if the school chooses to relocate to Sunnyside five new hangers would have to be built, including four maintenance and operation buildings and one school facility. He said the runway would also likely be expanded an additional 800 feet.

"It would be a true asset to the community," Bridges said of the flight school.

Infrastructure and commercial improvements aren't the only projects taking place in Sunnyside. Bridges also talked about several residential developments that are currently underway in the community. The first is a new subdivision being built along Sunnyside-Mabton Highway, which is currently platted for 82 lots.

"We're excited about that," he said.

Bridges said the subdivision will be comprised of stick-built homes, with the first phase of the project calling for 42 homes to be built. Bridges said designs for five different model homes have been submitted for the subdivision.

He said another subdivision is also being built along Yakima Valley Highway, which incorporates 51 lots.

Also planned for Yakima Valley Highway is an improvement project that would enhance the corridor through Sunnyside. Bridges noted that communities like Prosser and Grandview have worked to make Yakima Valley Highway an attractive entryway into their communities, and Sunnyside would like to do the same thing.

Bridges said the City of Sunnyside already has money available for matching funds, and is currently exploring ways to finance a Yakima Valley Highway improvement project.

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