With the air beginning to clear and the number of cattle housed at Monson feedlot quickly beginning to decrease, Sunnyside City Manager Bob Stockwell sees a good opportunity for Sunnyside.
Stockwell, who served as the guest speaker at Wednesday morning's Sunnyside Daybreak Rotary Club meeting, commented that he woke this morning and went to close his window. It was then that he realized just a year ago, it was difficult to sleep with an open window because of the agricultural scent that wafted in during the night.
"The air is clearing and we're starting to see some significant changes on the west side of our community," Stockwell said.
For starters, Stockwell said the number of cattle being housed at Monson feedlot has significantly decreased over the past few months. He noted that as the cattle have been vacated from the area, the agricultural smells that go with them have also begun to diminish. Stockwell said this will end up giving Sunnyside a chance to expand development out toward the community's west entrance.
He added that the city hopes to expand infrastructure, such as water and sewer lines, out into the area.
Stockwell said the city will soon be going through an urban growth boundary amendment this year, and that there are plans to extend the city's urban area to include much of the west side of town, out to nearly the Outlook exit off of Interstate 82. He added that then that property will likely be annexed into the city.
Other urban growth boundaries Stockwell said the city is interested in expanding include pushing the boundary line further north, perhaps to Van Belle Road, and further south to include much of the Port development on Midvale Road. He added that Sunnyside would also like to talk to Grandview about where the boundary between the two cities lies.
Stockwell then turned his attention to development. He noted that Sunnyside is currently experiencing an increase in its residential development. Stockwell said the city is also taking a look at its zoning areas throughout the community, explaining that there are several areas that are currently zoned commercial, but that are probably better suited as residentially zoned areas.
Stockwell said there are several other projects the city will be working on in the next few months. He said work should begin soon on South First Street. He said the street will be widened, curb and gutter will be added, a round-about will be placed at the intersection of South First Street and South Hill Road, and improvements will be made to the intersection of South First Street and Lincoln Avenue.
"It will really dress up one of the entrances into the community," Stockwell said.
He added that the city is currently working on putting together a sign ordinance.
"One of the big holes in our process is that we don't have a sign ordinance in our community," Stockwell said. He said the city's Planning Commission is currently working on putting together a sign ordinance that will make sense for the community.
Stockwell said he received word last week that the city will soon be taking on another project, which will be the construction of a skate park at SunnyView Park. He said the city received a grant that will help make the project possible. He added that construction on the skate park should begin this summer.
Another significant project the city is getting ready to tackle is improvements at the wastewater treatment plant. He said the improvements will have to be completed by April 2007, and that the price tag for the improvements will be steep.
He said the city has received a 0 percent interest 20-year loan for $12.7 million and a $4 million grant to help fund the necessary improvements. He said before the city received the loan and the grant, in order to cover the cost of the improvements the sewer rate would have had to increase 25 to 40 percent. Stockwell said since the city received the funding residents should see only a 2 to 3 percent increase in their sewer rates over the next several years.
"It shouldn't be something people can't absorb into their budgets," Stockwell said.
Stockwell said all of these projects will help polish up the community a little bit, adding that it's important to make an investment in the local community.
"We ought to be looking at investing in our community," Stockwell said.