YOUTH VOLUNTEERS – Helping out at the first Destination Sunnyside community project were, left to right, Sunnyside FFA members Sergio Valencia (behind the tree), Elissa Hill, Lani Skyles, Auto Shop Student Joneyeth Trujano, FFA members Alex Partch, Cannon Hauver, Jose and Gonzolo Gonzalez. Also pictured are club advisors Jared Ziegler and Nick Paulakis, in the background.

SUNNYSIDE — Finding ways to get residents and visitors to visit and invest in the downtown core is the major objective of a new citizen’s group.

“Our goal is to encourage revitalization downtown Sunnyside, making it a destination,” announced Lori Gardner, chair of the newly formed Destination Sunnyside.

The group’s first big project was to clean the city core planters of winter debris last week.

The corps of volunteers, of all ages, pruned the boxwood shrubs and pulled out the untidy roses. The committee has agreed to research more sustainable plants for the downtown area.

But cleaning up downtown planters is just the tip of the committee’s goals, Gardner elaborated.

“We are also working with the city to paint and install better signage, directing visitors to points of interest,” she commented.

Gardner said committee plans include designing a “Destination Sunnyside” logo.

The next big program to attract downtown visitors will be an “enhanced farmers market,” to be located in the Centennial Square.

Gardner said committee member Natalie Copeland is heading the market project, which will include a Friday food truck rally on the corner of South Fifth Street and East Edison Avenue.

It’s tentative opening date is July 26-27.

“We want to bring music downtown… and color,” Gardner said.

“We want people to see what is downtown and to also see the opportunities to add to the area,” she explained.

Gardner and her committee formed at the invitation of the city after watching a two-hour presentation focused on Sunnyside’s community development needs.

“We are following the Roger Brooks Plan to work to improve the city’s strengths and to have more things available to keep people here,” she added.

Destination Sunnyside has developed a Facebook presence at Facebook/Destination Sunnyside where residents can find ways to help with the project.

Julia Hart can be reached at 509-837-4500, ext. 123 or at

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