There’s an area in downtown Sumner that might look a little different in the spring of 2023.
“I think the big shining star will be the woonerfs surrounding Heritage Park and the bike paths and pedestrian improvements along Academy Street,” said Alisa O’Haver-Ayala, the city’s associate engineer.
For those who may not be aware, woonerfs are defined as “living streets” that vehicles can access, but are primarily used by pedestrians. They closely resemble something like a square with bricks covering the ground. The woonerfs will be on Cherry Avenue, Kincaid Avenue and the driveway east of Kincaid.
The Woonerfs are among the many things the city has on its downtown to-do list, O’Haver-Ayala said.
The city intends to improve its roads, sidewalks, storm drains, sewers and water lines near Kincaid Avenue and Alder Avenue between Main Street and Thompson Street.
At the same time, the city will also set up bike lanes along Academy Street. Bike lanes on both sides start from the Sumner Sound Transit station at 810 Maple St. and end at Wood Avenue.
Sidewalks and crosswalks will also be ADA-compliant, O’Haver-Ayala said.
The total cost of the project is approximately $6.5 million. Some of the “big ticket items” include concrete pipes and water pipes. Funding will come from a combination of sources, including city water, rain and sewer fees as well as Sound Transit and Pierce County.
The city plans to begin construction this month and finish no later than spring 2023.
As of July 20, Heritage Park will remain open, but there will be construction impacts on Cherry Avenue, Kincaid Avenue and Main Street. The city is still working with the contractor to finalize construction plans, O’Haver-Ayala said. Diversions will be in place for vehicles and pedestrians.
O’Haver-Ayala said this project is the culmination of what began as two separate projects: the Alder/Kincaid Avenues Utilities Relocation Project and the Academy Street Bike Paths Project.
The first project came about when the city adopted its downtown plan in 2018. The plan called for high-density development in the downtown area. With this plan came the need to increase and improve water and sewer facilities for the city to service this type of development.
There are sewer lines that are over 100 years old, O’Haver-Ayala said, that need repairs.
An $875,000 grant that Sound Transit gave to the city sparked the second project. The proposed bike lanes coincided with some of the water pipes that needed to be replaced, so the city decided to combine the two projects, O’Haver-Ayala said.