Sumner community cut off from the rest of the city due to lack of infrastructure

SUMNER, Wash. -- Many choose to live in Sumner for the tranquility and affordability.

“We were the first development in this area,” Dave Davis said.

Davis said he was surrounded by strawberry and blackberry fields back in those days.

Now those fields are gone, making way for homes and cars.

“We didn’t think it would happen that quickly,” Davis said.

But even with all the growth, the roughly 1,300 residents in the Rivergrove community are isolated from the rest of Sumner.

“We don’t have any sidewalk infrastructure on SR 162,” Public Works Manager Derek Barry said.

About 10 percent of all Sumner residents live in Rivergrove.

Valley Avenue is the only way in and out for many in that community. With traffic backed up on that route a lot, getting to the nearby Sound Transit Station is a hassle.

But now, the city is hopeful that an old idea is getting new life through a grant.

“We are asking for Sound Transit for $450,000,” Barry said.

The city of Sumner is hoping Sound Transit will give them a grant of nearly half a million dollars so they can design a pedestrian bridge that would go over Highway 410. It would give pedestrians and bicyclists quicker and easier access to the Sound Transit station.

The entire project is expected to cost around $4 million, and the city says they plan on going after other grants as well.

Supporters say the bridge would also provide direct access to two schools and a park.

Sumner Middle School and Maple Lawn Elementary are only about 400 feet away from the Rivergrove community.

“Literally 400 feet,” Barry said.

But since the schools are cut off by Highway 410, families have to go the long way, more than a mile to get to the schools.

“I really worry about the kids here because they ride their bicycles and stuff,” Davis said.

Barry says it is not safe for Rivergrove kids to walk the current path to school or even to the nearest park. That's another reason why the city of Sumner is pushing for the pedestrian bridge.

“This is a good possibility this can happen I am hoping in the next 5 years,” Barry said.

Sound Transit has $10 million to divide up among Pierce County projects seeking grants.

You can vote on any of the projects by going to Sound Transit’s website.

Public comments are open until August 23. The Sound Transit Board will award grants on September 26.

Right now, they have more requests than they have money, so not all projects can be funded. But Sound Transit on Tuesday said the Rivergrove project came highly recommended.

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