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Sunnyside council accepts airport grant

Sunnyside Public Works Director Jim Bridges confirmed this morning that the Sunnyside City Council accepted a $237,000 grant from the FAA for airport improvements.

The action was taken last night, Tuesday, during a special meeting of the city council.

Bridges said the city had been working towards the grant since this past December.

The money will go towards rebuilding a taxiway at the airport that lies parallel to the runway. Bridges said the taxiway, which planes use to access the runway, will be completely reconstructed and shifted 90 feet to the south.

Bridges said the shift will allow the airport to accommodate larger planes.

Work will begin this July and should wrap up in a couple of months, he said.

According to a memo from Bridges to the city council, Sunnyside anticipates receiving another $414,000 grant from the FFA once design of the new taxiway is complete.

All of which means the city will have to pay a 5 percent match of $34,400 to receive the grants.

For now that money will come from a general fund that closed out 2008 with $128,000 more in sales tax revenue than anticipated.

Eventually, though, the city hopes to receive a $17,200 grant from the state to meet half of the local match.

During the regular council meeting on Feb. 9, city officials indicated they would seek help from local partners, such as the Port of Sunnyside and Sunnyside Community Hospital, as well as institute higher user fees at the airport to help meet the additional costs.

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