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Long-awaited YMCA in Sumner draws first-day crowd

Shelby Barkshire, right, pushes her son, Easton, 2 months, in a stroller while jogging on the second floor track, as a class stretches out on the first floor at the new Gordon Family YMCA in Sumner on Monday. Seven laps around the track equals one mile at the largest YMCA in the state.
Shelby Barkshire, right, pushes her son, Easton, 2 months, in a stroller while jogging on the second floor track, as a class stretches out on the first floor at the new Gordon Family YMCA in Sumner on Monday. Seven laps around the track equals one mile at the largest YMCA in the state. Staff photographer

Kate Marez said she had to get involved with the new Gordon Family YMCA in Sumner.

Growing up, the Bonney Lake native said, her family spent a lot of time in the car traveling to activities.

“My parents were driving us all over to keep us active,” said Marez, the recreation center spokeswoman. “It’s so important to me to be a part of this project. This is everything I could’ve wanted in a facility.”

She wasn’t the only one who felt that way as the recreation center had its grand opening Monday.

The parking lot at 6109 160th Ave. E. was packed with cars, and the sidewalks were filled with people in front of the 110,000-square-foot building, one of the largest YMCAs in the state.

Officials cut the ribbon and opened the doors at 8 a.m.

Bob Ecklund, president and CEO of the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties, spoke about the milestone.

“This facility will change lives,” he said to applause from the crowd. He later credited donors who worked hard to raise an unprecedented $17 million.

Despite its location in the community of about 9,500 people, the Sumner Y already has 6,638 members.

It was highly anticipated by people in surrounding cities, such as Bonney Lake, said Kaeley Triller Haver, spokeswoman for the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties.

And it will ease congestion at the busy Mel Korum Y in Puyallup, she said.

Sumner Mayor Dave Enslow said the opening was eight years in the making.

“It’s worth the wait,” he said. “People are proud of this Y.”

Bringing it to Sumner wasn’t easy. In its early stages, the project was wrapped up in a land-use battle over Orton Junction, a controversial mixed-use development on farmland just outside Sumner that was proposed but never built.

Ongoing litigation pushed the YMCA to switch its location to the current one.

The change meant the city had to double its contribution to $5 million, which the Sumner City Council approved with some opposition in 2013.

By noon Monday, 450 members had already used the new Y.

Some immediately jumped on stationary bikes, among more than 200 individual pieces of exercise equipment. Others ran laps around the indoor track or joined a spin class.

Staff helped people navigate touch screens to print schedules of activities and events. Kids scaled the climbing wall in the Family Adventure Zone.

Becca Johnstone stood by as her two children, 8-year-old Emma and 5-year-old Henry, ran all over.

“We have been fully behind this project since its conception,” the Sumner mom said. “It’s great to have a place to come and be active together as a family.”

Iris and Lowell Reed went straight to the ping pong table in the teen center. The Sumner couple said they’ve requested ping pong at other YMCAs without success, so they were surprised to see it Monday.

“This is such a neat contribution to our community,” Iris Reed said.

Elected officials and others took tours of the Y and saw special features including a visual arts media lab, chapel and performing arts studio.

Upstairs, MultiCare staff members answered questions about the massage and physical therapy center, which will open Sept. 28. Modeled after a similar clinic at the Gig Harbor Y, it will be open to members and non-members alike.

Patients at the clinic will have access to on-site exercise equipment, regardless of their membership status, said clinic supervisor Keith Boyd.

Monica Bolden of Auburn said she will make the drive to the Sumner Y rather than using her hometown Y because of the additional activities.

Bolden, a Zumba and MixxedFit instructor, said she wanted to spend her birthday Monday at the grand opening.

“I’m just so excited,” Bolden said, nearly jumping up and down.

Kari Plog: 253-597-8682

kari.plog@thenewstribune.com

@KariPlog

GORDON FAMILY YMCA HOURS

Monday-Thursday 4:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.

Friday 4:30 a.m.-9 p.m.

Saturday 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

Sunday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

(Located at 6109 160th Ave. E. in Sumner. Activities end 30 minutes before closing.)

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