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Despite national recession, city of Sunnyside on the grow

There may be a national recession underway, but don't tell that to the city of Sunnyside.

The city recently reported that sales tax receipts are up $150,000 more than anticipated this year. That means more purchases are being made, generating the sales tax revenues.

The secret to Sunnyside's success is to some extent all around us in the form of new construction projects.

Jay Hester is a property development manager with the Port of Sunnyside, and in a few minutes time ticked off $10 million in new building projects. Those projects mean there are workers who eat, shop and stay in Sunnyside. Building materials purchased here also would contribute to the sales tax bottom line.

"Sunnyside's got quite a large amount of construction," Hester noted. The Port, he said, is building a new $1.5 million watering facility for its industrial wastewater plant. Further, the Sunnyside School District will build a new transportation facility and there's the ongoing South First Street expansion.

Add to the mix work at the airport, the significant upgrades at Wal-Mart, a new medical clinic on East Edison Avenue and work nearby on I-82 and Sunnyside has seen its share of hustle and bustle over the past 12 months.

"It's helping," Hester said, noting that workers on the I-82 improvements near Sunnyside are headquartered here, meaning their shopping, food and lodging is feeding the retail surprise here in Sunnyside.

Hester says the Port tries to "impress upon people that we (Sunnyside) are a driving force for economic development."

Gerald Roy is president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and he said he's noticed quite a few ribbon cuttings, evidence of an expanding economic base. "We are still seeing several businesses opening," he said.

And there's no sign the building economic trend is quitting. Bleyhl Farm Service has purchased property near Midvale Road that will be used as a storage site for the company's propane business. A planned project to create an access road and private railroad spur is expected to cost about $500,000.

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