Bonney Lake discussing new name for Sumner-Buckley Highway

To paraphrase Shakespeare, would a road by any other name still ride as sweet?

It’s a question Plateau drivers may have to consider if the Bonney Lake City Council follows through on discussions to try and rename the city’s section of the Sumner-Buckley Highway to more accurately reflect Bonney lake’s history.

The idea came up at the council’s recent retreat, brought by members of Bonney Lake Historical Society and a veteran’s group looking to honor veterans by renaming a section of the road.

Originally named before the city of Bonney Lake was founded in 1949 – and before state Route 410 was built – the Sumner-Buckley Highway, also known as Old Buckley Highway, was the main route between the two cities that make up its name.

But that was then, this is now.

“It was known as the Sumner-Buckley Highway because Bonney Lake was just a little blip,” Bonney Lake City Administrator Don Morrison said.

“In the last 60 years, things have changed a lot,” he added. “Now Bonney Lake is bigger than both Sumner and Buckley combined.”

The idea to rename the road originated with David Colbeth, chairman of the Veteran’s Memorial Committee. Colbeth said he was inspired by Des Moines Memorial Way and thought renaming the highway would be a good way to honor veterans from the area and create more support for a memorial.

He and his group suggested “Bonney Lake Memorial Drive.”

“The whole intent is to have recognition for our veterans and service people,” Colbeth said Thursday. “We need to do something in this area.”

Much of the council and members of the city administration favor renaming the road, or at least the section which runs through Bonney Lake, stretching from the intersection at SR410 to approximately Angeline Road. After that, Sumner-Buckley Highway is a county road.

Councilman Donn Lewis, a military veteran, supports the noting of giving the road a more “suitable name.”

“I think it’s a great idea to change it from what it is,” he said. “People in Bonney Lake are looking to establish our own historical landmarks.”

Councilman Jim Rackley agreed, calling the present name a “misnomer at this point.”

“It has merit,” Rackley said. “It’s a mouthful anyhow.”

But not everyone is receptive to the idea. Buckley mayor Pat Johnson, for example, is opposed to having her city’s name removed from the road and said while Bonney Lake’s 60-year history may not be reflected in the name, the history of the area and the Plateau most certainly is.

“That was the road from Buckley to Sumner,” she said. “With the swipe of a pen…they’re taking away the historical significance.”

Johnson added that Bonney Lake is “a bunch of newcomers.”

“Buckley and Sumner have been around 100 years,” she said. “We’re slowly whittling away the historical value of our area.”

Johnson added, however, she respects the right of Bonney Lake to rename roads within the city.

And, of course, history is in the eye of the beholder.

“It may be historical, but not for us,” Morrison said, adding that he did not expect Buckley to rename its portion of the road.

Streets in Bonney Lake are named by council action, but Morrison said he did not see the issue heading to the council soon. He said there is some momentum for renaming the portion in the city limits, but said it may make more sense to wait until the “thumb” of county land that divides Bonney Lake is eventually annexed into the city. He also said business owners would have to be consulted because of the changes to their addresses and the costs that may be associated with the move.

But to Morrison, the days of the Sumner Buckley Highway in Bonney Lake may be numbered.

“In my mind it will be renamed,” Morrison said. “It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.”