SUNNYSIDE -- This city might turn to a familiar face to finally put the former Monson feedlot to good use.
The Sunnyside City Council said last week that they liked a proposal to hire Dave Fonfara, a former city manager, to recruit business to the former feedlot west of town.
"I think we're ready," said Councilman Jason Raines. "I think we should be thinking about moving forward."
Sunnyside officials first agreed to purchase the 150-acre feedlot for $2.5 million from Monson Ranches in 2004 to spruce up the city's western entrance and eliminate a source of aroma that gave the town the unfortunate nickname of "Smellyside." After the Monson family moved its 2,500 cows, the city took possession in 2007.
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City officials had planned to quickly sell the newly renamed West Sunnyside Business Park. The recession of 2008 doused those hopes.
Starting in 2013, the city will pay about $500,000 in bond interest payments a year for the purchase of the property and extending water and sewer lines to it.
Under Fonfara's proposal, the city would pay him $17,000, while the Sunnyside Economic Development Association -- or SEDA -- would contribute another $17,000, for six months to determine which industries would make the most sense for the property, and then recruit businesses to lease or buy.
Fonfara served as the executive director for SEDA, then called Sunnyside Inc., for 13 years before becoming the city manager. In 2004 he took a similar post at the city of Chelan. Last summer, the retiree and his wife moved to Yakima to be closer to family members.
The council will formally vote on the contract Feb. 27.