After months of collecting feedback from the community, the city of Sumner has assembled a Parks and Trails Plan draft outlining possible projects for the future, stretching on into 2035.
The city received hundreds of responses through an online survey, pop-up events in parks and community workshops.
At the end of it all, one thing was clear to Public Works Manager Derek Barry: People in Sumner care about their parks and all the benefits that come with them.
“Parks are always one of the most favorite things about Sumner,” Barry said. “With the responses we got, people definitely love their parks.”
“People took so much time to talk about very specific ideas that they had,” added Sumner communications director Carmen Palmer. “It’s really heartening for us.”
Barry noticed in the feedback that community members use city parks for the most part to keep active, healthy lifestyles and for social gatherings. Keeping open, natural spaces for future generations is also important to those who responded. But amenities were also needed, and community members made those needs known.
Ideas for parks, according to the feedback in the Parks and Trails Plan draft, are as follows:
▪ Bill Heath Sports Complex: Benches and backboard at tennis courts, safety improvements at bathrooms, skate park
▪ Loyalty Park: Play equipment, slides, swings, picnic facilities, spray park, barbeques, restrooms
▪ Rainier View Park: Pickleball, water fountain, spray park, swings, shade near the playground, off-leash dog area
▪ Heritage Park: Water fountain, a big toy, more year-round themed events, more advertising, barbeques
▪ Seibenthaler Park: A fence, picnic area, swings, beach volleyball court, fenced dog area, community garden
▪ Trail: More signage, parking, clear points of entry, trail connections, seamless connectivity to other trails or locations
The plan projects that population in Sumner could rise to 12,570 by 2035. With that possible growth, city officials focused on where they could close what are called “gap areas” within residential communities when it comes to parks. The goal is to have a neighborhood park within a quarter-mile walking distance of residences, Barry said.
The draft identifies six gap areas for possible parks: Rivergrove, West and East Sumner, Elm Street, and the Manufacturing Industrial Center. But there’s no knowing for sure if or when the parks will be constructed — at the end of the day, it comes down to feasibility and funding, Barry said.
“It could be five, it could be ten, it could be 20 years,” he said.
The draft also outlines adding a dog park with “possible locations near the Sumner Resource property, the unused western portion of the Cemetery, or a future park location such as in East Sumner or elsewhere.”
As for trails, connecting regional trails along the White and Puyallup rivers will provide better access for Sumner residents, some of which drive to get to a trailhead, Barry said. Pedestrian crossings over state Route 410 to the Rivergrove neighborhood and crossings over the Puyallup River are also on the list, as are trails that stretch out into other cities, such as Lake Tapps, Puyallup and Edgewood. The plan also looks at varying trail type for multiple uses — from equestrian to paved to soft-surface trails.
“This can help us identify how can we get people where they need to go,” Barry said. “I think (the trail system) will be a resource that people will use a lot more.”
Currently, the Sumner allocates about 11 percent of its general fund to Parks and Trails operations, which is projected to be approximately $13 million.
The community has another chance to comment about the Parks and Trails Plan draft at a hearing at 6 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 14) at the City Hall Council Chambers, 1104 Maple Street.