Sunnyside residents continue to fight proposed multi-service center location

By Syan Rhodes - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - Residents of Sunnyside said they are not giving up their fight to stop the proposed relocation of the Sunnyside Multi-Service Center.

Outside the center Wednesday, organizers with clipboards and pens asked their neighbors to sign a petition against the move.

The city is exploring moving the 39-year-old center from Cullen Boulevard to a site located in Sunnyside Park. The park was once a landfill and residents are worried it's not safe.

PHOTOS: Proposed new location

"That landfill was started in 1937 they actually closed it in 1970 for certain materials, but until that time, they were dumping anything you can imagine over there," said Dikombe Gite.

The city said at 2010 soil test came back clean, but Mayor Sylvester Turner and Councilman Dwight Boykins, who represents Sunnyside, said they will ask for more testing.

The center serves 600 seniors every day and many told Channel 2 they opposed the move.

"To move the center away from us would be moving it from our neighborhood," said Willie Ruth Miles.

Other residents questioned the need for moving the center. Boykins has said the building is old and rebuilding on the current site isn't cost-effective.

Some opponents believe it's a land grab, clearing the way to sell the site of the current center to developers.

"It's all about money, on the back of poor communities," said Travis McGee.

Boykins said the mayor is planning a town hall to meet with residents in the next few weeks.

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