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Feed lot clean-up on track

The first fruits of Sunnyside's purchase of the 150-acre Monson feed lot will be reaped beginning in August when the city takes over the first 75 acres of the property.

The city purchased the property nearly two years ago for $2.5 million for the dual purpose of reducing the smell of cattle waste and to set aside the property for commercial development.

"The community and the Monsons had grown too close (geographically), and it was incompatible for them to be together," City Manager Bob Stockwell said of the city's growth outward towards the area of the feed lot.

Under terms of the purchase, Sunnyside will take title to 75 of the acres in August and the remaining 75 next April.

Between now and August, the Monsons are required to have the site cleared, including fence posts and concrete cattle feeders. Stockwell said the concrete items on the property will be crushed and used again in eventual construction on the site.

"The Monsons have been very good to work with," Stockwell said. "They have met the schedule and they are right on track."

A pile of ground cattle waste on the west side of the property will have to be removed by next April, said Stockwell. "They've already moved it once," he said of the pile. "So rather than moving it twice they are selling it as compost."

Stockwell said the sale of the compost is going well and the pile should be cleared by April.

On another front, the city hopes to have Yakima County's final approval this summer for Sunnyside to expand its urban growth boundary out to the Monson lot.

That, in turn, would facilitate the city's ability to eventually annex the property and run water and sewer utilities to the area.

Stockwell said he has already received a few comments of general interest in the property. Once in full city ownership, Stockwell said Sunnyside should have no problem recouping its investment.

Noting the 150 acres is one of the biggest single stretches of open land along I-82, Stockwell said the site should have a good response for prospective light industrial, commercial or retail operations.

As a result, the city's vision for the Monson property isn't just about the removal of odors, but the long term addition of jobs and sales tax base for Sunnyside.

"Our goal has been to encourage development that makes the most sense for the city," Stockwell said of the Monson purchase. "It's property that will be valuable.

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