Acreage purchased in Sunny View for future community park

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Polk County Community Foundation’s Sunny Community View, LLC has purchased more than 50 acres for community use adjacent to the Sunny View Elementary School on Bill Helton Road off Hwy. 9, shown partially above. (photo by Google Maps)

The Polk County Community Foundation’s Sunny Community View, LLC has purchased more than 50 acres for community use adjacent to the Sunny View Elementary School on Bill Helton Road off Hwy. 9. (photo by Google Maps)

SUNNY VIEW – The Polk County Community Foundation, along with Sunny Community View, LLC, has acquired 53 acres adjacent to Sunny View Elementary School.

The land, which is off Hwy. 9 on Bill Helton Road in Sunny View, according to PCCF President and CEO Elizabeth Nager,was purchased following a meeting between the PCCF’s All Thrive 365 Committee, Sunny View Elementary School personnel, Sunny View community members and the Sunny View Clubhouse.

According to Nager, the land was bought from Frankie Monteith and the Helton family. Nager said the Helton family wanted the land to be used for a future community park.

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The All Thrive 365 Committee held the meeting to determine the needs and wants of Sunny View community members, Nager said. She added that during this meeting, attendees said they began to “dream” of places to play basketball and baseball in this space in addition to having walking paths and other amenities.

“Back in 2015, the Polk County Community Foundation’s All Thrive 365 Committee went to Sunny View Elementary School and asked to meet with community leaders associated with the school,” Nager explained. “We met with teachers at Sunny View Elementary School who live in the Sunny View area and we met with PTO leaders, about six or seven people, including people from the Sunny View Clubhouse.”

Nager added the traffic along Hwy. 9 in front of the elementary school has increased, making it unsafe to walk along the road. There is property on either side of Bill Helton Road, which is less trafficked than Hwy. 9.

The Sunny View Clubhouse, a 501(c)(3) organization created in late 2015, conducted surveys in the Sunny View area to get a broader scope of needs and wants, according to Nager.

“They conducted a survey at the elementary school’s fall festival that was held in October 2015, they talked to people coming out church, they did an astounding job of collecting information about their community’s wants and needs,” Nager explained, “and came to the obvious conclusion that these needs required land and at that meeting there was the discussion of there being a tract of land available for sale adjacent to the Sunny View Elementary School that had been on the market for quite some time.”

Rachael Haynes-Wood, with the personnel department at Polk County Schools, lives in the Sunny View community. Haynes-Wood said she is also part of the Sunny View Clubhouse and helped do surveys for the development of the property.

“In February 2015, the Sunny View Clubhouse became a 501(c)(3) organization which allowed us to apply for and receive grants and donations that can be used for the Sunny View Community,” Haynes-Wood explained. “In September 2015, the Polk County Community Foundation asked to meet with a group of individuals from Sunny View and invited one of our board members to represent the clubhouse. Our board member offered to conduct a survey of our community through the clubhouse and asked how potential funding from donors and/or the community foundation could be used in Sunny View.”

Haynes-Wood added the surveys created by the Sunny View Clubhouse were distributed to each student at schools, to churches, the local gas station and community events as well as to as many households in the Sunny View area as possible. Haynes-Wood said 230 completed surveys were returned to the clubhouse.

“Considering that most of these surveys represented an entire household, we were able to capture the opinions and feedback of a very large portion of our community,” Haynes-Wood said. “We asked the residents about what kind of resources they would like to see in the area and specifically asked if it would be beneficial to our community if property could be obtained and designated as a Sunny View Community area.”

Nager said there is no timetable for developing the property, but added the foundation put in the real estate contract a time frame of one year to continue researching the needs of the Sunny View community.

“How we attract donors is by being innovative when the community comes to us with their needs,” Nager said. “We do proactive and reactive grant making and this is an example of proactive grant making through the All Thrive 365 Committee.”