YMCA targets new location north of highway in Sumner | UPDATE

Pierce/Kitsap YMCA CEO Bob Ecklund gives Bonney Lake public servants a tour of the Gig Harbor YMCA in July 2011. - Brian Beckley
Pierce/Kitsap YMCA CEO Bob Ecklund gives Bonney Lake public servants a tour of the Gig Harbor YMCA in July 2011.
— image credit: Brian Beckley

UPDATE: Sumner City Council is hosting a special meeting 5 p.m. tonight, Friday, in regards to services and options agreements with the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties. City hall is located at 1104 Maple Street.

Representatives from the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties announced Thursday they are pursuing a new location in Sumner, according to a press release. The location being examined is a 10-acre lot immediately east of the intersection of 64th Street East and 160th Avenue East.

Two years ago, the YMCA had marked the site of the proposed Orton Junction mixed use zone for a Sumner facility. Those plans were stalled after the state Growth Management Hearings Board determined Pierce County lawmakers' rezoning of Agricultural Resource Lands was not in compliance with state law. The city of Sumner and Orton Farms LLC filed an appeal, still under review, in Thurston County Superior Court.

YMCA has received $7.75 million in earmarked donations since the cities of Sumner and Bonney Lake first conducted research on demand in 2008.

"We know 20,000 people have been wanting to join a YMCA for the last five years, and (we) can't wait to start serving this community through swim lessons, youth programs, art classes, and teen programs," local YMCA President and CEO Bob Ecklund said in the release. "We are actively raising funds from the community to support this project."

Ecklund expanded on the plans in an interview Thursday afternoon, stating the land would be purchased with the help of a grant from the city.

"We already have our contract with (construction company) AP | Rushforth in Fife and BCRA Architects," he said. "The next steps are to do all the planning on this specific site."

YMCA forecasts the site will break ground in the second quarter of 2014 for a fall 2015 opening, Ecklund said, continuing that the non-profit would continue to participate with Investco and the city of Sumner in cohesive planning on Orton Junction.

Sumner Mayor Dave Enslow expressed support for the new site, saying the new location would provide "better access for Sumner residents than the old site offered."

It will be up to the city council to consider revised agreement with the YMCA. Two agreements for services and options go to a vote at a special meeting Friday night at 5 p.m. City government is also considering a scaled down plan for Orton Junction.

The new location and building plan is significant because it could be more than twice the size of the Orton Junction YMCA plan, city Communications Director Carmen Palmer wrote in an email Thursday.

The new proposed site — north of state Route 410 and flanked by residential neighborhoods — is less than a mile from the original site south of the highway. The plan calls for an 80,000-to-100,000-square-foot building including two swimming pools, two gyms, a track, internet cafe, child center, teen center, multipurpose rooms, arts center and community room.

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