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City hopes to renovate South Hill tennis courts

City of Sunnyside officials are looking to pump some new life into the once popular tennis courts at South Hill Park.

The tennis courts have been unusable since 2003 because of large cracks that run throughout the surface.

Last week, the Sunnyside City Council took the first step in trying to fix the long-time problem.

Council approved proceeding with a grant application through the Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation (IAC). The city is seeking $71,000 in grant money with the remaining cost of the project ($71,000) coming from the city.

Sunnyside City Manager Bob Stockwell said the city would provide $54,750 in cash for the project with the remaining portion coming from in-kind labor and materials. Stockwell said Council will not have to worry about budgeting for the project until next year. He said the grant application takes a year to be processed.

Sunnyside was recently approved by IAC for funding for a skate park at SunnyView Park.

Despite the go-ahead to seek the grant to resurface the tennis courts, Councilman Bruce Ricks voiced his stern opposition to the application process.

"The tennis court (at South Hill Park) is underused," said Ricks.

Ricks said people who play tennis in the community have longed used the courts at Sunnyside High School. Ricks felt the city should place the skateboard park on the tennis court site at South Hill Park instead of all the way out at SunnyView Park.

Ricks found an ally in Councilwoman Bengie Aguilar, who said she felt the city's youth could benefit from having a skateboard park at South Hill Park. Aguilar, though, felt there was a need to do something about the condition of the tennis courts at South Hill.

"There were used quite frequently," said Aguilar.

Stockwell explained that there is no reason why the city couldn't explore at a later date the possibility of placing a skateboard park at South Hill Park.

"Certainly, there will be a demand for more than one skate park in the City of Sunnyside," said Stockwell.

Mayor Ed Prilucik said he felt the need for the city to pursue the grant opportunity to revitalize the tennis courts. The mayor said he felt there was a need to have both a skate park and new tennis courts in the community.

"The public should be able to use them without fear of injury," added Councilman Paul Garcia in his support of pursuing the grant.

Mayor Pro-tem Mike Farmer pointed out the tennis courts will actually be rebuilt, not resurfaced if the grant application is approved. Farmer voiced his support of the plan, but his opposition of having the skateboard park at SunnyView Park.

"I don't think the skate park has any business out at SunnyView Park," said Farmer.

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