Check this page for updates on rumors, chatter heard about town to get the facts and real scoop straight from the source.  

Question: do I need a permit or reservation to hold a party in one of Sumner’s parks?

All park spaces, including the gazebo, picnic shelters, tables, barbecues, etc. are available on a first-come, first-serve basis only at no cost. Please note if it is a busy weekend of graduation parties or Father’s Day, for example, other people may have the same idea. Normal uses, such as birthday parties, family picnics, etc. do not require any kind of permit. Click here for a list of Sumner’s parks and their amenities.
If your event is larger and changes the normal, everyday use of the park, you should obtain a Special Event Permit. This situation occurs if your event includes major components such as structures (tents, special tables, inflatable bounce toys, etc.) or a band or amplified music. Click here for more information about holding special events.

Question: why are the flashing school lights/20 mph signs for Daffodil Valley Elementary activated during odd hours, especially during commute time?

The schools themselves control and activate those lights to slow down traffic when there are children present, not for just traditional school hours. Daffodil Valley has evening programs that serve children weeknights until 6:45 pm. Especially with commute traffic, we need cars to slow down and drivers to remain extra alert for children’s safety.

Question: why don’t you just remove Traffic Avenue from the truck route? Wouldn’t that solve the congestion?

No, it wouldn’t; in a way, it would make it worse. The Traffic Avenue interchange and its lights are failing due to all sorts of increased congestion, not just truck traffic. Although this interchange is owned by WSDOT, the City of Sumner can’t wait any longer and is raising money to build a second bridge with two more travel lanes and pedestrian access as well as upgrade both intersections. This takes $18-20 million in funding. To qualify for grants, the City has to show the need, including the need to move freight. Already $2.5 million has gone to the project from Freight Mobility board as well as further funding from the Port of Tacoma. Removing the truck route would significantly impact the City’s ability to get  funding and delay the building of the second bridge that will bring relief.

Question: why are the traffic delays on 142nd Avenue repaving so bad this morning (April 26)?

Sorry about that. No, it should not be that bad through the next six weeks of the project. This morning, the signal at the Costco intersection was not operating properly.  The City of Sumner traffic signals foreman was out there this morning with the contractor, and the situation has improved.  We expect that traffic will improve for tomorrow’s AM commute.  As with construction, there will always be challenges and inconveniences.  However, we are very excited about construction and looking forward to a great new roadway surface.

Rumor: just use the main ball field at the Heath Sports Complex if you’d like.

Actually, you can, but there are a couple steps to take first. If you’d like to use the main ball field, please contact Northwest Prospects Academy, who manage scheduling of the baseball field. You can reach them at (253) 301-0491 or via to check the schedule/answer questions. You will also need to fill out a Facility Use Agreement (pdf) and return completed form to  Derek Barry before your use can be scheduled.  Enjoy playing ball in Sumner!

Rumor: the City doesn’t charge industrial businesses for their water use in order to attract business.

Wow! This one is really not true. In fact, the opposite is true. EVERYONE pays for their water use. Many of our industrial businesses pay utility bills that are between $1000 and $2000 per month. In fact, because water rates are set based on use and meter size, the large industrial businesses are the ones with larger meters, who are thus heavily supporting the water utility infrastructure that everyone enjoys using, including residents.

By the way, the City does not offer any financial incentive to attract industrial businesses. We rely on good customer service, good infrastructure and the old real estate adage of location, location, location.

Question: Why did the City reset its tax rate when so much else was going on already?

The Council had long deliberations about this through meetings held last fall, because they don’t take taxes lightly. However, the City is getting “squeezed” from both sides, facing both the loss of revenue and mandates that take a toll on our budget.

At the same time, demand for city services increases each year. This is the funding that helps build or replace sidewalks, that is used as matching dollars to get grants to repave/expand horribly clogged roads, that is used for police protection, parks and planning the future of Sumner. Plus, new laws are currently being debated in Olympia that would pass more laws that require the cities (and thus you) to spend more money.

The City has worked hard to reduce costs and implement efficiencies, but faced with this loss in revenue, the Council considered this an important step toward maintaining the quality of life of our community and the services our citizen value.

Click here for more information about this year’s property taxes in Sumner.

Rumor: the old Red Apple building was torn down for a Sound Transit garage.

The Real Info: While that location was considered three years ago as one of four possible locations for a Sound Transit garage, both commuters and residents overwhelmingly asked for the garage to go on the existing open-air commuter lot instead, so that is where it will go, not on the Red Apple site.  Sound Transit is building the garage with funding from ST2, not ST3, and the continues to progress with support from the City.

In the meantime, the Red Apple building was a derelict eyesore full of asbestos and mold. The eventual plan is redevelopment into mixed-use with housing on upper floors and retail/service on the ground floor. Your participation in the Town Center Plan update helps shape how high future building(s) could go and what style they should have.

To make redevelopment happen, the City has to clean up the soil underneath that was contaminated by an old gas station. During that 2-3 year process, the Council determined it was worth tearing down the  building to offer more commuter parking spaces to fill a need for parking. In exchange for offering more off-street parking in the lot, the Council chose to extend restricted parking zones (RPZs) to  return street parking to residents. Like any compromise, some commuters and residents are happy with the exchange, and some are really not.