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Port of S'side purchases land for possible airport expansion

In a nod to the future, the Port of Sunnyside has agreed to offer $25,000 to buy two acres from landowner Don Padelford.

The triangle-shaped parcel would complement 40 acres the port owns at the corner of Ray Road and East Edison, immediately east of the Sunnyside airport.

Port Manager Amber Hansen said an irrigation ditch running alongside the eastern perimeter of the 40 acres has already been piped and covered. Hansen noted the 40 acres, purchased more than 10 years ago, is intended for extending the airport runway.

With the addition of Padelford's two acres, the port will have a straight, contiguous border with the airport. "That will straighten up the boundaries and leave no impediment to extending the runway," Hansen explained.

A purchase agreement for the property has been signed, she added. The land acquisition is currently under environmental review and processing through usual boundary and title reviews.

"At the latest the property (sale) will close in January," said Hansen.

Sunnyside City Manager Bob Stockwell said the city is working with the state Department of Transportation on an airport layout plan.

Though no firm plans are on the books to extend the airport runway, Stockwell said the plan could provide the groundwork for future expansion.

"When the plan is complete it will identify the possible extension of the runway, then enable us to pursue funding through the FAA," Stockwell explained.

There is currently no funding source or timetable for extending the runway. If or when the city reaches that point, Stockwell said it would likely be a two or three year process.

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