There is a question mark regarding what to do with the vacant Red Apple Market building on Alder Avenue next to Sumner City Hall.
Two options still being vetted by the Sumner City Council include selling the property to a private developer or transforming it into a farmers’ community co-op. The property closed in 2006, and a proposed mixed-use development project to complement the idyllic older downtown buildings fell through in 2008 at the outset of the recession.
Candidates for Sumner City Council who are running in the Nov. 6 general election weighed in during a Puyallup-Sumner Chamber of Commerce-sponsored forum Sept. 11 at the Holiday Inn Express in Sumner’s north industrial area.
Mayor Dave Enslow, who is running for re-election, wants to sell the property to a private developer.
“I would like a mixed use of condos and retail with people living on site and patronizing the downtown,” Enslow said.
Nancy Dumas, Enslow’s opponent, advocated for the farmers’ community co-op idea.
“I would like a community farmers’ market co-op that supports local business and local industry,” said Dumas, a current council member.
Dumas said it would cost $300,000 to bring the vacant property up to standard.
A report made by Paul Rogerson, Sumner’s community development director, found the property last spring to have structural damage, including a leaky roof and faulty heating and electrical systems. Rogerson also said asbestos would need to be removed.
Rogerson said the cost of repairing the structural beams would cost about $10,000.
Other city council candidates pushed for private development.
“What downtown needs is a catalyst for local business,” said Steve Allsop, an incumbent who is running unopposed for Council Position 3. “Having a mixed-use project would be a wonderful centerpiece for downtown.”
Kathy Hayden, a member of the Sumner Planning Commission since 2008 who is running for Council Position 2 against Randy Hynek, agreed with Allsop. Hayden said having residential in the downtown mixed with retail would spur even more development.
Hynek did not attend the Sept. 11 forum.
Earle Stuard, a member of the Sumner Planning Commission since 2009 who is running against incumbent Ed Hannus for Council Position 1, said bringing the building up to standard to accommodate a farmers’ community co-op would be too costly.
“Mixed use is the best use,” Stuard said.
Hannus agreed that bringing the property up to code would be cost-prohibitive.
“It would be nice to have some additional businesses at the Red Apple, including a grocery store, which would support existing downtown businesses,” Hannus wrote in an email to the Herald. “I don’t support the concept of a solely garden market.”
Meanwhile, Stuard also opposed turning the lot into a parking garage to service Sound Transit commuters.
“A parking garage would bring too much traffic to the downtown,” Stuard said.Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.