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127 building permits issued in Sunnyside last two months

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Max Saldana Jr. with Saldana construction works on a bathroom cabinet before getting ready to install it last Friday. Saldana has done quite a bit of work rebuilding the Sunnyside Housing Authority duplex that was razed by fire in August.

The rebuilding process is nearly complete. The Sunnyside Housing Authority has spent the past three months recovering from a fire that razed a duplex in the organization's Reeves Way complex.

Work on the duplex has included everything from installation of new plumbing to putting in a new heating and air conditioning system for the two units. In September, the City of Sunnyside Building Division issued three permits for work on the duplex at 510 Reeves Way. A mechanical permit for work on the heating and air conditioning unit was issued for a fee of $83.50, a plumbing permit was issued for a fee of $123, and a building permit was issued for a fee of $1,190.65. According to the City of Sunnyside, the value of the duplex stands at $134,000.

Sunnyside Housing Authority Executive Director Ketha Kimbrough said two families were living in the duplex when the fire occured on Aug. 11, although she noted that only one family was home when the blaze was discovered.

The fire at the Reeves Way complex displaced both families. One family moved to a unit in another Housing Authority complex. Kimbrough explained that the second family had given the Housing Authority notice that they had planned on moving out before the fire, so following the blaze they continued with their plans and moved out of the Housing Authority system.

Kimbrough said the August fire involved the roof of the entire building, noting that it affected both units of the duplex.

Bruce Epps with the Sunnyside Housing Authority said the Sunnyside Fire Department did an excellent job responding to the fire. He said it's because of the job they did that the Housing Authority was able to rebuild the structure.

He noted that although most of the duplex was lost to the blaze, the stud walls were still in good condition. Epps said everything from the plumbing to the electrical systems of the two housing units were destroyed by the high temperatures of the fire. He said windows were melted and the bathtubs in both units were destroyed.

Kimbrough said the process of rebuilding the structure started almost immediately, noting that as soon as the building was labeled as safe the families were able to go in and salvage what they could. She said it was also early into the rebuilding process that the Housing Authority learned it was going to have to do some asbestos removal before the project could really get moving. Kimbrough noted that the unexpected need for asbestos removal added to the final cost of rebuilding the duplex.

Epps said once the reconstruction got going, crews were sent in to do a complete overhaul of the building. He noted that the project has included new trusses, a new roof, new windows, sheet rock, insulation, electrical, plumbing, flooring, interior doors, trim and cabinets.

"Basically we were down to the studs and started over," Epps said.

Now, three months after the fire, Epps and Kimbrough said the construction crew is putting the finishing touches on the duplex. Epps said they are installing the last of the trim, putting in a few remaining cabinets and touching up the paint. Kimbrough estimates the two units will be ready to take in two new families by the end of the month.

Although it cost the Housing Authority an estimated $150,000 to rebuild the duplex, Kimbrough said the decision to take on the project was an easy one.

"There's a need for the units," she said.

Kimbrough explained that the duplex includes one three-bedroom and one four-bedroom unit, which are both in high demand.

"We have a waiting list of families," she said, noting that there are only 12 four-bedroom units in the Housing Authority system.

Other projects that were issued permits by the City of Sunnyside in September and October include an $816.71 building permit issued for an indoor swimming pool and spa at the Best Western Grapevine Inn in September, as well as several permits issued to businesses in the Mid-Valley Mall during the month of October. The permits issued at the mall include mostly sign permits for new stores that are coming into the shopping center. In October, two permits were also issued for the construction of two new houses on Jersey Street. Each home has a valuation of more than $94,000.

During September and October, the city's building division conducted 651 inspections and collected $16,683.40 in permit fees for projects with a total valuation of more than $715,000. The 127 building permits issued included 19 mechanical permits and 22 plumbing permits. There were also four sewer connection fees, two water connection fees, two water meter permits and one public works permit for curb, gutter and sidewalk work.

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