What does the future hold for Sumner’s parks and trails?
The city is looking to community members for answers.
For the first time in 20 years, the city is updating its Parks and Trails Plan, which will use community input to identify parks and trails needs and opportunities for new or improved amenities.
“We did pretty much everything in the old plan,” said Carmen Palmer, the city’s communications director.
That plan included new playground equipment, adding amenities like the zip line at Loyalty Park and the opening of a completed Sumner Link Trail.
But what’s next?
There are many improvements that the city would like to make, said Palmer. And once the new Parks and Trails Plan is finalized, not only will the city have a clearer idea of what to work toward, but it’ll have a better chance of securing the funds to do it.
“Once we create the new plan, we can quality for grants,” Palmer said.
In the works
Seibenthaler Park was the subject of the city’s most recent park project. Two playground activity centers were installed this month, replacing weathered playground equipment that was becoming unsafe with age.
“The playground equipment was getting pretty old,” Palmer said, adding that the previous equipment had been there for 20 years.
Seibenhaler Park was first built in the 1940s at a cost of $6,000, and was named after a local Boy Scout leader.
The new equipment alone cost $25,000. The city applied for a grant for the new equipment but did not receive it. That was partly because the city was nearly complete with its current Parks and Trails Plan.
“They like to know that we’re working toward a bigger plan,” Palmer said.
With the completion of a new plan, it’ll be easier to get those grants, Palmer added.
Seibenthaler Park is still under construction but will officially open 2:30 p.m. Friday (Aug. 25) with a ribbon cutting. The blue and green play equipment features three slides, a tire-swing contraption and climbing gym. A French drain was also installed underneath the playground to prevent flooding outside of the summer season.
But there are more ideas in the works for Seibenthaler Park, said Sumner Parks Supervisor Daniel Gates.
“There are plans at some point for youth soccer fields,” Gates said.
Swings, a zip line, additional security, lighting and more trees for shade are all possibilities for Seibenthaler Park moving forward. Renovations are also expected for the Sk8 Park at the Bill Heath Sports Complex.
If they look closely, Sumner park-goers can find signs at each park encouraging them to take a Sumner Parks and Trails Plan online survey. The survey is a way for the city to pinpoint what people want and need out of the city’s parks and trails.
As of last week, the city was closing in on 100 responses. They were all very helpful, Palmer said, but more are welcome.
“The more we can get the better,” she said.
The survey closes Sept. 5. After, an open house will be scheduled to discuss the results.
So far, many users have had practical requests, like extra parking and more clearly-defined trailheads for the Sumner Link Trail. Other users have requested dog parks and spray parks.
Many of Sumner’s parks are surrounded by residential areas, but the city is also taking into consideration the larger business community farther north.
On Friday (Aug. 25), city officials will be meeting at each one of Sumner’s parks for “Pop-Ups in the Park,” where they’ll be giving Popsicles to park-goers and asking what they’d like to see. Visit sumnerwa.gov for more information.
The new Parks and Trail Plan is expected to be finalized in early spring 2018.
Friday’s Sumner Pop-ups in the Park schedule
▪ Sk8 Park/Heath Sports Complex, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
▪ Rainier View, 1 to 2 p.m.
▪ Seibenthaler, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. (Includes ribbon-cutting for new playground)
▪ Loyalty, 4 to 5 p.m.
▪ Heritage, 7 to 8 p.m. (part of Movies Off Main)