Downtown Sunnyside facelift behind schedule; city says will finish on time

SUNNYSIDE, Wash. -- Sunnyside's downtown revitalization plans have hit a bump in the road. Putting construction crews about two weeks behind schedule. But, Sunnyside's City Manager says the project will still finish on time. KIMA learned how the city plans to make that happen.

The stretch of 6th Street between Franklin and Edison is paved, curbed and open to traffic.

"It's got 75 years of life in it," said Sunnyside City Manager, Don Day.

But, Phase One of Sunnyside's downtown revitalization wasn't without hiccups. Underneath the old road, an unexpected discovery -- three old oil tanks that used to heat nearby buildings.

Crews inspected them for safety issues, before digging them out and throwing them away. The city also ran into problems coordinating its subcontractors, delaying the project by about two weeks.

But, Day isn't worried.

With Phase Two already underway between Edison and Decatur, he approved a plan to begin Phase Three early -- on Edison, between 5th and 7th Streets.

Meaning, roads ripped up in both directions for what could be weeks.

Said Downs works at a screen printing company at the corner of 6th and Edison.

"I don't think it's going to bring in more money, just because you make the streets look better."

KIMA asked him what he thinks of Phase One.

"Not impressed. Fix the buildings and then I'll be impressed. Make them look like somewhere else."

Chyanne Diener takes a different view. She's opening a new restaurant on 6th Street next month, in the old Super Taco location.

"It was a setback for the businesses for quite some time, which hurt them essentially. But, in the long run, it's going to be beneficial to them."

A hope Day shares.

"This is going to be the beginning of a new era for Sunnyside. This is a rebirth of the downtown and the economic vitality of the community."

Short-term pain for what the city hopes is long-term gain.

The city's downtown plans also include trees and flowers and decorative banners. Sunnyside's Public Works Director hopes to have all three phases done by November.