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Yakima Regional Library board hears about Sunnyside growth

Deciding to hold its July board of directors meeting at the Sunnyside branch library gave members of the Yakima Valley Regional Library board an opportunity to learn what's going on in the Sunnyside community and its future impact on library patrons.

Noting the Yakima Valley Regional Library hopes to make the Sunnyside branch library the reference center of the Lower Valley, Monica Weyhe, library executive regional library director, asked Sunnyside City Manager Bob Stockwell to outline recent changes in the Sunnyside economy.

Saying the city is on the verge of an upward economic swing, Stockwell told the board a move is afoot to revitalize downtown. He said once accomplished, the growth is sure to bring more people into the core of the city.

Stockwell said the city is well positioned to provide excellent services to any new businesses coming to the area. "We are trying to get more small businesses and services to locate in the downtown area. Also, we hope to see more reinvestment in the downtown area," he said.

Stockwell said he'd like to see more industrial type businesses locating in the community. "The Sunnyside Port has property on the south of town and on its eastern borders available for such developments," he said.

In addition, Stockwell said the city is hoping to be able to also expand the city airport runway in the next couple of years.

He told the library board of the recent growth in housing starts in the community, as well as retail expansions occurring all over the community.

"The old K-Mart building is a good example of that investment in the community," he said, Stockwell suggested that more businesses will be locating along the Yakima Valley business property in the coming months.

He noted the cloud created by the former Monson feedlot, which was recently purchased by the city of Sunnyside, has finally dissipated.

"I think people are astounded that the removal of the cattle has already created a huge difference in the quality of air in our community," he said.

"Most people thought it would take a long time for them to notice a change," he said, adding that the Monson family began moving cattle this past February, a move which was recently completed.

Stockwell said the purchase of the Monson property opens up the city's western entrance for the addition of commercial and retail businesses.

"We do plan to make sure that any growth in that area stays compatible with the agricultural activities already located there," he added.

Stockwell said the community continues to need the addition of year-round stable employment.

"We just have to go with the strength of what we have," he added.

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