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Sunnyside eyes bond for new fire station

Though final action has not yet been taken, the Sunnyside City Council during a workshop on Monday night expressed support for asking voters to approve a $6 million bond to build a new fire station.

The new building would be built next to the existing fire station on Eighth Street, according to a lay-out presented by the architectural firm MJ Neal Associates.

The bond would cover the cost for the new fire station and remodel to the existing one, as well as the funds needed to buy a ladder truck.

The need for a ladder truck was highlighted in May this year when fire destroyed two downtown restaurants. Since then, students and staff at Sunnyside High School have started using a new, two-story addition to the school.

Sunnyside's problem has been the nine-foot high doors on the nearly 50-year-old building in use now are not high enough to accommodate a ladder truck.

Accordingly, the new station would have 14-foot doors.

Besides more than doubling the size of the fire station, the expansion would provide better designated areas for decontamination, work stations, separate bathrooms for men and women, earthquake support and sleeping quarters for those on duty at night.

There would also be more room for equipment storage.

When completed, the new fire station addition would move the main entrance from Eighth Street to Franklin Avenue to steer the public away from fire vehicles entering and exiting the station.

Off-street parking would be provided and the entrance area inside would include a training area that could also be used as a community meeting room, according to the lay-out presented to council.

The city also plans to work with Yakima County, which owns a YCFD #5 building adjacent to Sunnyside's current fire station. Sunnyside Fire Chief Aaron Markham said the hope is that the county's fire building will be outfitted with a sprinkler system and exterior improvements.

The city hopes to put the bond vote on the Feb. 2012 ballot. If approved, the measure would increase annual property taxes by about $40 on a home valued at $100,000.

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