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Open Mike

SunnyView Park-the gem that will never be?

In recent weeks the condition of SunnyView Park has been a hot topic. So, I would be remiss if I didn't mention something I came across the other day.

The Sunnyside City Council was recently drilled about the perceived terrible conditions of SunnyView Park for playing soccer. I am sure some of the teams in the men's softball league have made their voice known as well about the condition of those fields.

Having sat through many meetings where people step up and voice their complaints, I thought much of the criticism was of a minor nature. But boy was I wrong. After attending the Lower Valley Men's Softball League season-ending all-star game Tuesday night, I have to agree that SunnyView Park needs some tender loving care.

I honestly have to wonder if anyone on the Sunnyside City Council or any member of the Sunnyside city staff, besides the grounds crew, has been to SunnyView Park, because that park and those fields are in horrible condition.

The city took over the responsibility of SunnyView Park from Yakima County when county officials decided it was too expensive to be in the parks business. While it is noble the city stepped up and took over the park, it is appalling at the condition of the facility. I applaud the Sunnyside City Council for making the effort to keep the park open for the residents of not only Sunnyside, but for all who live in the Lower Valley.

But the problem with keeping SunnyView open is that if we aren't going to invest in upgrading the facility and making it a quality place to be, then what is the use of having it? It is much like a business owner with no money to purchase stock for his shelves trying to run a shoe-string operation. The business owner is only going to drive his customers away.

SunnyView Park is in horrendous shape. It looks as if the park is the back 40 acres of a farmer's pasture. Our city leaders rescued the park from being closed, but do they really want to be recognized as the ones who let the park deteriorate into what it has become?

I know it takes money to upgrade facilities such as SunnyView Park, but the potential to bring people into Sunnyside by sprucing up the fields for softball and soccer tournaments is great.

The natural response to my point of view is that there is no money to improve the fields, which I get tired of hearing when the city is hiring new people and dishing out substantial pay raises while city employees sit at home on a Friday afternoon basking in the sun on their porch that was built by our taxpaying dollars.

SunnyView Park can become the gem of the Valley. It has the potential to be a true shining star. I hope I am wrong in my belief that the city won't do anything to help SunnyView reach its potential.

One of two things need to happen. The city needs to make the necessary upgrades or get rid of the facility all together.

But please, don't sit back and tell us it can't be done. A decision is long overdue. Fix it or dump it.

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