The Port of Sunnyside supported the decision of the city of Sunnyside to acquire the Monson feedlot property at the time the decision was made, and continues to support the city in its efforts to develop and market the property.
The feedlot activities have been gone for quite some time, but most of us remember that the prevailing westerly winds carried the dust and odor into the city and surrounding areas on a regular basis. The dust was considered a health hazard to many, especially to those with breathing disorders. Many people expressed frustration that they were not able to sit outside of their homes in the evenings. The dust and odors were considered an impediment to economic development.
It was in this context that the city of Sunnyside courageously decided to acquire the Monson property. It was "courageous" because the city did pay a premium for the property to protect the health and welfare of its residents, as well as enhance economic development.
A recent Daily Sun News "guest column" by Amber Hansen, the former executive director for the port, but written in her individual capacity as a citizen and not as executive director, makes it clear that financing a large project is not easy. However, the property acquisition was thoroughly discussed in the community and at public meetings, and had wide community support, even if the manner of financing was not as well understood.
The Monson property was not acquired with the intent of making a profit. Yes, it would be nice to break even, and it would be nice to have an attractive development at the west entry to the city of Sunnyside.
The economic downturn beginning in 2008 has prevented the organized development and resale of the property to relieve pressure on the city's finances. However, the businesses and residents of the area have already benefitted greatly by the removal of the constant dust and odor that pervaded the area.
The Port of Sunnyside continues to support the city of Sunnyside in its efforts to develop and market the property, and the city's efforts deserve the support of its citizens and the business community.
- Jay Hester is the executive
director of the Port of Sunnyside.