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Sumner Authorizes Sale of Aging Golf Course

The Sumner City Council voted 6-1 Monday to authorize putting Sumner Meadows Golf Course up for sale.

When asked what should be done with the aging Sumner Meadows Golf Course, a majority of surveyed residents asked their city to sell.

On Monday, the Sumner City Council agreed and voted 6-1 to authorize the mayor to begin marketing the course on the market for development.

There are no interested buyers at this point, although there has been interest, said Mayor Dave Enslow. The council would have to approve any sale.

“If it weren’t for this [vote], we wouldn’t be looking at any sales. It all still has to play out—if it’s quick, slow or whether [a sale] happens at all,” said Enslow.

In 1993, Sumner purchased the 292 acres of land for $5 million. Of the original 292 acres, about 172 are considered developable today and could yield the city $34.6 million, say city officials. If sold for development, about 150 acres—about half the land—would remain green space.

 “If we are able to sell half the space and get upwards of $30 million for it, we could pay off our debt and still have about $20 million to do with what we please,” said councilmember Steve Allsop. “This could result in a potpourri of possibilities—we could improve parks, reduce utility rate pressures… tons of stuff.”

Councilmember Randy Hynek was the lone “no” vote to sell the course, and he said it’s because he sees the course as a “fantastic investment” and doesn’t want to see the entire property sold. He said he would have liked to see a nine-hole course option on the table.

“It would have been paid off, we’d be debt free and a [nine-hole course] would be an income generator,” said Hynek. “Plus, we’d still have half the property.”

With no developer knocking on the City Hall door with check in hand, however, the city must continue to subsidize the course and could renegotiate it’s contract with Billy Casper, the golf course management group hired to run Sumner Meadows. Sumner still owes $5.77 million for the building and construction of the course, including this year’s interest, plus about $900,000 in internal loans.

Justin Evans October 16, 2012 at 06:26 PM
I think this is a great opportunity for Sumner to be able to invest in the future growth and possible expansion towards Orton Junction. However the money received will also have to have some reserve as to the loss of revenue that selling the golf course will leave. I know it's currently losing money, but it is still a line item income on the budget and will still need to be offset with some of the sale dollars. Overall I think it's going to be great for the City and should to help serve the community, as long as it's done wisely. Investing in industries and resources that will bring in highly skilled jobs will help bring in more money into the City in the long run and help with the transition of our aging populous.
Lauren Padgett (Editor) October 16, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Great thoughts, Justin! I think you've hit all the main points. $32 million could do a lot for Sumner...
Lulu Carter October 16, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Another poor decision by the Sumner City Council, just one of many over the years. If sold as developmental property, we can all look forward to more beautiful views of warehouse, trucking spaces and who knows what else. To turn a beautiful green belt, open space area into industrial or other use, is more than a little short sited. What does the "aging population" have to do with anything? Gary Allard Sumner, WA
Justin Evans October 16, 2012 at 08:41 PM
I'm pretty sure the drive along East Valley wouldn't make anyone's top "Beautiful Views" list with all that surrounds us in the PNW. Warehouses and businesses make money and bring in jobs. Tax income from B & O taxes, sales tax from increased purchases from local companies, influx of additional employees within the city limits means more business potential for all the empty shops on Main Street. As for the aging population, it has a lot to do with our future economic state. With the aging population, things are remaining stagnant. The only real business throughout downtown is antiques. As the current population becomes older, if things do not change, the downtown strip will die off. If Sumner was able to entice a younger demographic to plant their roots and start families within Sumner, it will allow for more growth of retail establishments, jobs and the renewal of continued prosperity for Sumner and its steadfast values. It was a great place to start families 30-40 years ago and it's a great place to continue that tradition. Times have changed, and while behind the curve, Sumner has a great opportunity with the sale of the Golf Course. The promise of new jobs and new growth will help keep Sumner the great place that it is to live and raise a family.
Lulu Carter October 16, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Justin...such time worn rhetoric..
Justin Evans October 16, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Merriam-Webster definers rhetoric as: 1: the art of speaking or writing effectively: with that said, I appreciate the compliment. Effective writing and speaking is what is needed to overcome the stigma and challenges we face today with intolerance and closed mindedness. It's the ability to educate those who thirst for knowledge and to enlighten those who seek enlightenment. With the sale of the golf course, the City of Sumner has effectively taken the first of many steps needed towards continued prosperity for those of whom they serve.
Lulu Carter October 16, 2012 at 11:06 PM
This last comment was not from Gary Allard. It was from Sharon Carter. The valley used to be beautiful. You are using the same excuses and the reason why our beautiful valley is gone and covered with warehouses, trucks, etc. Don't take anything as a compliment, please. You are so tiring with what you say.
Justin Evans October 16, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Let's take it down a notch and keep things above the boards. The intent of this message board is to discuss local current events. Its not a public sounding board for personal attacks. Let's keep it productive and conducive towards civil discussions. Thanks!
Lauren Padgett (Editor) October 16, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Thanks, Justin. I agree - let's keep the conversation civil and respectful, please!

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