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Skateboard park looks to become a reality

The saying that good things come to those who wait might hold true for Sunnyside High School senior Danny Mendoza.

Mendoza has been spearheading a project to build a skateboard park in Sunnyside for the last six years.

It looks as if the young man's efforts have finally paid off.

Sue Jetter, who serves as the grant writer for the City of Sunnyside, reported that the city is in the process of receiving a $51,850 grant from the Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation (IAC).

Jetter said the IAC is an agency that administers seven to eight different federal and state funding sources for outdoor recreation. This particular money the city is receiving comes from the Washington State Wildlife and Recreation Program.

The efforts to build a skateboard park in the Lower Valley have involved many different agencies. Mendoza and former Sunnyside Parks and Recreation Director Tom Byers led the effort to build a skateboard park in the Lower Valley, collaborating at different times with Yakima County and the City of Grandview.

"It has been a joint effort in getting it going," said Jetter.

Byers and Jetter worked together to submit the IAC application last year. The two went to Olympia and made a presentation last July, asking for funding for the skateboard park. Jetter found out last week the city would be receiving the grant to fund the skateboard park and is in the process of signing off on the final documents to receive the money.

Jetter said there were a couple of different selling points that probably resulted in the IAC approving the grant application.

"We have a lot of young people (in the Lower Valley)," said Jetter. "It can be shared by Sunnyside and Grandview."

Jetter added the fact that the other skateboard parks in the Valley are located far from Sunnyside was another selling point and the fact there was also an opportunity for inexpensive recreation in the Lower Valley was another selling point.

With the grant money, the city should be able to complete the construction of the skateboard park at the Sunnyside-owned SunnyView Park. Jetter said the skateboard park will cost slightly more than $100,000 when construction is all said and done. Jetter did say that she still has to do some more calculations with the money the city has, which includes a $1,000 grant that Yakima County will be turning over from the Tony Hawk Foundation, to see how much money is exactly available.

"I am pleased that the (grant) money came through," said Jetter.

Jetter said the construction of the skateboard park in the Lower Valley will serve as the conclusion to a lot of hard work done by many different people.

The city is the lead agency with the project. The Sunnyside Public Works Department will be working on clearing an area in the northwest corner of SunnyView Park to build the skateboard ramp. Once the land is ready for construction, the city will bid the contract out for construction of the skateboard park. The actual skateboard park will be a 100x100 foot concrete slab. Jetter said the design allows for some flexibility with future growth.

"It should be finished by Dec. 1," said Jetter.

Sunnyside Recreation Coordinator Joan Niemeyer is excited that the skateboard park will actually become a reality.

"This is a project that the kids have worked on a long time," said Niemeyer. "It is gratifying they will get their skate park. I am hoping they just use it every day all day long."

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