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Council invests in local economic development

The Sunnyside City Council extended a friendly hand this past Tuesday night to representatives of the Sunnyside Economic Development Association (SEDA), formerly known as Sunnyside Inc.

The Council gladly approved funding SEDA to the tune of $40,000, which is in line with past amounts the local economic development agency has received.

Jon Smiley, president of the SEDA board of directors, was on hand Tuesday night to speak with Council members.

"I think it is very important we come together as a community," said Smiley.

Smiley spoke about the importance of creating living wage jobs in the Lower Valley area.

SEDA is currently searching for a new executive director, following the resignation of Marshall Doak. Doak is still serving in a part-time capacity until a new director can be found.

Smiley said SEDA has interviewed several candidates for the job and will be doing second interviews of three candidates the week before Thanksgiving. Smiley said he is excited about the candidates SEDA narrowed down, as all three of them live in Eastern Washington. Smiley said he is hoping to have a new director on board as soon as possible.

Councilman Jim Restucci had some concerns with the way the private sector has been supporting SEDA. SEDA raised $25,547 in private donations last year.

"The private sector needs to get on board with this," said Restucci. "This program will not survive if the private sector doesn't get involved."

Smiley agreed with Restucci, saying he would have a difficult time as administrator of Sunnyside Community Hospital supporting SEDA if the private sector was not on board.

"I feel that all parties have to be involved," said Smiley.

Councilman Don Vlieger said he was glad to see the partnership the city and SEDA have formed. He said he is also pleased to see that SEDA will be the focal point for economic development in the community. Vlieger also said that marketing the community should be better now that the city has purchased Monson feedlot.

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