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City Council told soccer fields need upgrade

If there was one message the Sunnyside City Council received this past Monday night, it is that something needs to be done about the playing conditions of the various fields within the parks system, especially at SunnyView Park.

Council heard from Juan Pineda, one of the founders of the Lower Valley Men's Soccer League. The league, which features 14 teams, plays almost every day on two fields at SunnyView Park from May through October.

"Those two fields are some of the worst fields in Eastern Washington," said Pineda of the SunnyView Park soccer fields. Pineda said he has played soccer around the state.

"Yes, we have been existing," said Pineda. "We have been surviving, but with a sour taste that more can be done."

Pineda said the league would like to see the conditions of the fields at SunnyView Park improved so the league could attract new players.

"We are here to offer our services," said Pineda in a gesture of partnership. "We want to work together with the city. It would definitely help us grow."

Pineda challenged Council to look at investing in improving the quality of the fields at SunnyView Park.

"I know we can do better quality (wise) and compete with other communities," said Pineda.

Mayor Pro-tem Mike Farmer asked Pineda what kind of improvements are needed.

Pineda explained the fields at SunnyView are not safe to play on. He said there are holes all around the field. He also said adult-sized goals need to be purchased.

"I don't think those fields were developed for the purpose of soccer," said Pineda.

Councilman Bruce Ricks suggested some sort of partnership be formed with the Sunnyside School District that would allow the men's league to utilize some of its facilities. Ricks also pointed out by having rotating fields, it would reduce the wear and tear on the grounds at SunnyView Park.

"It just sounds like we need to open the doors to the schools," said Ricks.

Pineda said the school district hasn't been too eager in wanting to help the soccer league. Pineda said one of the reasons school officials have been reluctant to provide facilities is because of the large number of people that attend the games.

Councilman Paul Garcia said the city does need to do something about the condition of its playing fields at the various parks, not only for soccer. He said the city is missing out on several opportunities to host quality tournaments and improvements do need to be made.

"It is going to take an investment from the Council and the city to get that going," said Garcia. "We have to make some conscious decision on what we need to do."

Mayor Ed Prilucik directed staff to work with the men's soccer league on addressing its issues and getting back to Council with a report.

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