Interlocal recreation department signs on for another two years

The Recreation Department of Bonney Lake and Sumner announced the completion of a two-year agreement with the Sumner School Board, extending after school and summer recreation programs for children, adults and families through 2016.

The Recreation Department of Bonney Lake and Sumner announced the completion of a two-year agreement with the Sumner School Board, extending after school and summer recreation programs for children, adults and families through 2016.

The announcement was made Oct. 7 at the Bonney Lake City Council.

Tim Thomsen, district athletic director, and Rich Hanson, the program manager of the Recreation Department, gave a presentation on yearly revenue and expenses information to the council as well as program and participation statistics.

The department started in 1991 as a joint effort between the cities of Bonney Lake and Sumner and the school district to provide after school and summer recreational programs for children, adults and families.

“In the 1990s I was a coach at Sumner High School, and our teams weren’t doing very well,” Thomsen said. “We didn’t have a lot of opportunities for youth to participate in various sports, and there really wasn’t any recreation offered in Bonney Lake or Sumner.  So the school district went to both cities and we asked if it was possible to make an interlocal agreement where we would start to create a recreation department to serve the needs of  the two communities.”

Every year, the city of Bonney Lake contributes $33,500 to the Recreation Department. The city of Sumner contributes $23,500 yearly, and the Sumner School District donates $25,000.

Over the last four years, the department made an average profit of $102,384, which was absorbed by the district to cover maintenance, lights, heating and custodial costs of running programs on school property.

The district also donates 90 percent of all facility needs for the department, including office space at Robert Miller gym as well as field, gym and classroom space for programs and activities.

“We provide opportunities for not only the residents of Bonney Lake and Sumner and Sumner School District, but for a lot of neighboring areas,” said Hanson.

More than 11,000 children, teens and adults participated in one of the department’s many programs during the 2013-2014 school year. While the majority of participants were from Bonney Lake and Sumner, nearly 3,000 participants also came from Orting, Lake Tapps, Puyallup and other cities.One of the most popular programs was winter basketball for first through fifth grade students, which more than 600 children were signed up for the program.

Another popular program was the spring egg hunt for adults, which nearly 400 adults participated in.

“These programs not only offer activities and art projects,” said Hanson, “but we are also dedicated to providing education opportunities as well.” Some of the department’s educational programs include a safety babysitting class for middle schoolers, drama and theater camps for elementary, middle and high school students and dog obedience training classes for families.

The department also organizes after school programs and summer camps for elementary school kids. The after school program served more than 200 students each month, and the summer camp served more than 1,200 children.

The department plans to partner with the Gordon Family YMCA in the near future, which plans open in 2015.

“A lot of people had questions about the YMCA. ‘Why do we need a recreation department if we have a YMCA’?” Thomsen said. “Because they have a gym and a couple of swimming pools. We have 13 schools, all with gyms and all with facilities to use.”

Hanson said that YMCA programs will be different from department programs.

“They don’t want to do the things we are already doing,” Hanson said. “They want to go in a different direction, like working on arts programs, senior programs and teen programs. Things that we are not doing as much of now.”


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