Photo by Laura Gjovaag
City of Sunnyside Planning Supervisor Jamey Ayling eyes possible names for the new Sunnyside park near the Law & Justice Center. The community development committee, consisting of City Councilmen Spencer Martin, Dean Broersma and Francisco Guerrero, narrowed the possibilities down to six choices.
Sunnyside’s new subcommittee on community development met for the first time last night and, after electing a chairman, discussed names for the new park near the Law & Justice Center.
The city solicited names from the public for the soccer fields on the corner of North First Street and Homer Avenue. In order to use real estate excise tax funds for the project, the park is required to have a name.
The subcommittee considered all the names submitted and narrowed the selection down to six potential names: Heroes Park, Sunshine Park, Grizzly Park, Character Park, Christina Knoth Park and Vista del Sol Park.
The committee will present their choices to the city’s parks and recreation board and to city council for refinement and suggestions before making a final recommendation to city council. The council will make the final choice.
One of the first decisions the committee made was to not name the park after a living person. The rules surrounding naming a park after a living person are more complicated for the city.
The choice eliminated naming the park after Nick Steckler, who originally proposed turning the empty lot into soccer fields. It also eliminated suggestions of naming the park after Bonnie Dunbar, Ed Radder, Chico Rodriguez, and John and Sally Saras.
Some other suggestions were not taken seriously, such as naming the park in honor of the Seattle Seahawks or combining Tijuana’s name with Sunnyside to make a new name.
Heroes Park is being considered to honor the city’s emergency responders and the city’s military veterans.
Sunshine Park and Vista del Sol were picked because they play on the name of the town.
Grizzly Park would honor the high school mascot. However, Committee Chair Spencer Martin questioned the selection, asking what will happen should the city build a second high school as has been speculated.
Character Park is based on a suggestion to name the park for the community’s “Sunnyside has Character” effort. The concept included the idea of incorporating the character traits promoted by the program into the park’s design through artwork.
Christina Knoth Park would be honoring a youth advocate who passed away last July. She was known for organizing book drives, National Night Out events, canned food drives and bone marrow drives. She also accompanied children to family and juvenile courts where they had no parents or their parents could not attend.
The committee Thursday evening also discussed downtown economic development, including making it easier for landlords of historical buildings to allow new businesses. City Manager Don Day said there is an option to give building owners a longer amount of time to comply with all building codes if the building fits particular standards.
“It allows owners to bring the building up to par without having to hit a hole in one,” said Day. “It can be extremely expensive to make all the changes all at once.”
The committee asked for a report on the possibility from staff for the next meeting.