Foothills Rails-to-Trails coalition awards Sumner $5,000 check

City plans to put donation toward cost of directional signage and amenities

Staff writerMay 28, 2014 

The Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition presents the city of Sumner a $5,000 check. Pictured are Dixie Gatchel, left; John Warhol; coalition Vice President Pat Johnson; coalition President Buzz Grant; coalition Treasurer Loras Gassmann; Ken Woolery; Sumner Mayor Dave Enslow; Ernie Bay and Sumner Associate City Engineer Ted Hill.


Over the past decade, the city of Sumner has made an effort to revitalize its Sumner Link Trail — connecting it to Puyallup’s Riverwalk Trail; the Interurban Trail, which spans Pierce and King counties; and the Foothills Trail, which ends to the east in Buckley.

Within Sumner, the trail spans eight miles from Mama Stortini’s restaurant on East Main to the northern borders of the city on Stewart Road in the industrial area.

On May 5, the Foothills Rails-to-Trails Coalition — a nonprofit that advocates for the preservation of trails in Pierce County — presented a $5,000 donation to the city of Sumner in honor of the community’s commitment to completing the trail.

“We’re here to support the trails,” said Loras Gassmann, the nonprofit’s treasurer. “We wanted to show Sumner our appreciation for the hard work they’ve done.”

Ted Hill, Sumner’s associate city engineer, said the donation will go toward directional signage along the trail.

“There is a couple spots along the trail of where you get confused of where to go,” Hill explained. “I love the (coalition). They’re a bunch of good people.”

Hill said Sumner is thankful for the Washington state Recreation Conservation Office grants it received in both 2008 and 2010. The two grants, which together totalled more than $1 million, helped the city to complete four sections of trail. The RCO was so impressed by the city’s work, Hill said, that it let the city keep the remaining dollars of the 2008 following its expiration.

Hill said Sumner is now partnering with the city of Puyallup to apply for grant funding that would support the cost of a bridge to cross the Puyallup River and link the Sumner Link Trail to the Riverwalk Trail. Gassmann said the coalition has pledged $46,000 as a matching fund should the grant be awarded.

The last main section of trail in Sumner, Hill said, will be the Fryar Avenue section, currently under design.

“This would be along Fryar Avenue from the Bridge Street bridge to Puyallup Street,” Hill explained.

Hill said the city is also in a design stage for a vehicular bridge crossing the White River at Stewart Road on Sumner’s northern border.

“The bridge will be wide enough to accommodate a trail,” Hill said.

Gassmann said Sumner could also use the donation to go toward the cost of other trail amenities such as picnic tables and benches.

The donation, Gassmann explained, was generated in large part from the coalition’s membership dues and from private contributions.

Andrew Fickes: 253-552-7001 @herald_andrew

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