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Sumner, Washington

Community planning has evolved Sumner from a Puyallup Valley farm town into a well-rounded small city with a rapidly growing industrial area.
Community leaders and residents began planning for change about 25 years ago, after observing how cities like Kent succumbed to voracious urban growth.
According to Ryan Windish, the current Senior Planner for the city of Sumner, Sumner residents wanted to control the inevitable growth to protect traditional residential areas and maintain, as much as possible, a small-town sense of community. The City of Sumner even went so far as to create incentives to developers for creating "Neo-Traditional" housing for the city.
City leaders and property owners decided farm land on the north side of town could accommodate industry to offer jobs close to home. They decided Sumner south of the Stuck River and Elm Street should remain residential and surround the city's small downtown.
And city leaders believe the plan is working. More than 65 industrial buildings have sprouted on the 1,000 acres of north Sumner land - exactly as officials had hoped.
Some manufacturers and warehouse builders, running out of room in Auburn and Kent in the 1990s, leapfrogged to Sumner's open land that offers Highway 167 access to Seattle and Tacoma markets.
As with most plans, not everything has come together as predicted. To better serve the industrial area and remove hundreds of trucks that use downtown streets daily, Sumner built a new bridge and five-lane road four years ago to hook up with a planned north Sumner interchange on Highway 167 and 24th Street East.
But the state Department of Transportation still hasn't broken ground on the freeway interchange. The state project slowed due to funding and environmental concerns, but it looks like the project will move ahead in the summer of 2003.
Two years ago, Sumner's boosters decided to hold the community's first St. Patrick's Day parade in modern times to honor what was said to be the century-old wish of George Ryan, who helped found the town in 1891. There was a parade, a band, a float, and the hoopla typical of a small town.
City councils also held to the 1970s vision for Sumner, to preserve its character, Skinner said.
"I thought it would take 50 years from the planning in the 1970s, but it's coming faster than expected," she said. "I can see some of the fruits of the planning we did."

To learn more about Sumner, follow us through an A-Z Sumner history of the city and surrounding area.

-The above information is courtesy of the City of Sumner.

Sumner Construction News

Sumner Quick facts
(from 2002)

Population: 8,504, up 35 percent from 1990.
Median age: 35.
People: 90 percent white, 0.9 percent black, 1.4 percent American Indian/Alaska Native, 1.7 percent Asian, 0.2 percent Pacific Islander, and 6 percent Hispanic.
Median home value: $144,000.
Percentage of families in poverty: 9 percent.
Median household Income: $38,600.
Industry employing the most people: education, health and social services.
Mean travel time to work: 28 minutes.
Bachelor's degree or higher: 20 percent.
In the armed forces: 0.2 percent.
School districts: Sumner.

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