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Sunnyside's South First Street expansion a go

With a slight change in plans, the city of Sunnyside is ready to move forward on its long-awaited South First Street expansion.

That's according to an update provided last night, Monday, to the city council by Interim City Manager Mark Kunkler.

Kunkler said the city has acquired the right-of-way it needs to widen South First Street and the project may go out to bid this month.

The progress comes following a multi-year property dispute between the city and Prosser contractor Tom Paul, who owns a strip of land along South First Street.

Prior to last night's meeting, Kunkler said the city has changed the design for the project so that Sunnyside will not need Paul's land. The city will do so by not building sidewalks on Paul's side of the street.

"We can't afford to miss another year of construction," Kunkler said. "We can't begin until all the right-of-way has been wrapped up."

Purchasing less right-of-way combined with a decision to do away with a roundabout at South First Street and South Hill Road means the city will save $600,000 on the federally funded project. Kunkler said those funds will instead be used for upgrades along Lincoln Avenue.

Though the city is apparently able to forgo Paul's land for the street project, Kunkler said negotiations will continue.

"I'd like to think we'll talk with Mr. Paul further," he said.

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