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Parks and Recreation Board needs additional members

Photo by Jennie McGhan.
Sunnyside City Manager Don Day and Public Works Supervisor Shane Fisher discuss the soccer fields near the Sunnyside Law and Justice Center with the Sunnyside Parks and Recreation Board at this past Wednesday’s meeting.

Lack of membership was of concern to the Sunnyside Parks and Recreation Board at this past Wednesday’s meeting.

Dorothy Aiken, who has served on the board for many years, recently resigned from her at-large position, leaving a vacancy for the chairperson of the board.

Without a quorum, those who were present for last night’s meeting could not take action on agenda items, including selecting a new chairperson.

Robert Van Horn and Bob Sarmiento, the vice chair of the board, were the only board members present for the meeting.

“We need to talk about this,” said Sarmiento, saying Sunnyside Parks and Recreation Board member Teresa Juarez has missed four meetings. Trish Combs has been absent for the past two meetings and Jacqueline Kranz, the student representative, was absent from last night’s meeting.

Sunnyside Public Works Administrative Assistant Jacqueline Renteria said a board member can only have three unexcused absences. As a result, the Sunnyside Parks and Recreation Board must decide if Juarez can remain on the board.

The board is to consist of seven individuals, and it was noted that a representative from the schools has not yet joined the board, although there is a position for such an individual.

Public Works Supervisor Shane Fisher said the city needs to advertise for the vacancies.

Moving through the agenda, Fisher provided the Sunnyside Parks and Recreation Board with an update regarding the soccer fields near the Sunnyside Law and Justice Center.

He said a local businessman stripped the fields to the base dirt and the city plans to apply topsoil to the fields before installing turf sprinklers.

“The sprinklers that were already installed are for residential use…they just can’t withstand a tractor and 30 of them were already broken,” said Fisher.

The city, he said, will plant grass after the initial steps are taken. The plan is to have the soccer fields ready for use this year.

Fisher said, “The first year is my biggest concern.”

He said the grass will be young and will not withstand aggressive use. As a result, the city is seeking to limit use of the fields to young children playing soccer.

The belief is that the youngsters will not be as tough on the grass and limited use will allow the grass to establish itself, according to Fisher.

He said the city will post signs notifying adults that the fields cannot be used for pick-up games.

“The city is also seeking ideas from the community for a name for the fields,” Fisher said, noting the city had to designate the soccer fields as a park.

Wednesday’s discussion also included the condition of the parks and recreation equipment inventory.

Parks and Recreation Coordinator Megan Razey said she has completed a quick count of the city’s baseball equipment. There are more than 1,000 balls in the city’s storage, many of which are still in their original packaging.

“Bats of all sizes are still wrapped in plastic,” she added.

Razey said the city is well-stocked with baseball equipment and other sports equipment.

She did note that the basketballs in the sports closet at the community center are the smaller sizes for young children.

“I don’t have the larger balls that are used by the older kids, who are the ones using the community center,” said Razey.

The next Sunnyside Parks and Recreation meeting will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 4:30 p.m. in the city hall conference room.

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