Sunnyside council votes for major upgrade of city building
The Sunnyside City council voted unanimously Tuesday night to replace the heating and cooling systems within Sunnyside City Hall. The project is major, given the city's modest general fund, but replacement is necessary for the building's well being as well as for providing east county residents with a functioning community center.
"There are two sides to every story," said Sunnyside Mayor Doug Parsons. "Many individuals within the community saw us acquiring this building as a big mistake. I don't feel that way. While this building has required some repairs, it does provide our residents with a place in which to conduct activities and that is something that is sorely lacking in our community."
Since taking over what used to be Petersen Elementary from the Carbon School District in early 2008, Sunnyside officials have worked to help provide a venue in their community for everything from team wrestling practices to religious services.
"Since the LDS church has been repairing and renovating their own building, they have been holding their Sunday services here," explained city council member Tony Riffle. "We are only able to do that because of the size of this building."
However, the very advantages which have made the building a make-shift replacement for the closed East Carbon High School have also caused political unrest since the council decided to take over the property. The city has worked to address these issues, going as far as to have the Siemens Company explore the possibility of heat re-capture and geothermal heating to cut down on costs.
Tuesday night, the council instead voted to pay Spring Glen Heating $25,553 to have 10 separate heating units and two cooling units installed, allowing the city to heat and cool only the areas of the building which require attention.
"With this system we will be able to control our costs very well," said Parsons. "This will maximize our energy savings while allowing us to use any part of the building we need."
Moving into the holidays, the city has plans to host a Christmas bazaar and have Santa Claus stop by to visit community children.
"Also this November, we are going to be able to have our own city residents vote here in Sunnyside instead of in East Carbon," explained council member Riffle. "We are very excited to have our citizens get the opportunity to vote in their own city."
According to city recorder Pauly Sanderson, Sunnyside residents will be voting on paper ballots instead of at electronic stations but they will be voting in their own city hall for open council positions.
"We understand that there will be some expenses because of the size of the building," concluded Mayor Parsons. "It is our hope that those expenses are worthwhile. We are open to any activities that our residents want. I mean, we have gone as far as to encourage our citizens to come up and walk the school's halls during the winter months. We want this building to be a community center. All you really need to conduct an activity here is an adult to supervise."
With no grant money available for the heating and cooling replacement, Sunnyside will be paying for the entire project with its general fund. However, funding is available for many other projects, assisting local officials in moving the building forward one step at a time. According to Sanderson, the city is currently working on obtaining grant funds to replace building's windows and doors, increasing the facilities energy efficiency even more.
With 11 large rooms as well as a gymnasium and stage available at the complex, there is potential available at Sunnyside city hall. According to Parsons, only community support and participation will be needed to maximize that potential.