City of Sumner considers selling popular golf course

SUMNER, Wash. - It's been in Pierce County for 17 years, but one golf course's future is very much in question. The city of Sumner isn't sure it can still afford to run the place.

The irony is that Sumner Meadows Golf Course is currently seeing record numbers in attendance.

"Last month, we had the most rounds in September we ever had. We had 6,037 golfers last month," says the golf course's general manager, David Kendall.

But it hasn't always been this way.

Kendall says business is bouncing back now - but that comes after two tough years dealing with the recession and some major floods.

During that period, the course just didn't bring in enough revenue, forcing the city, which owns it, to spend $1.5 million on subsidies taken from sewer utilities and general funding, which pays for things like parks, police and everyday services.

"But now, we're at the point that we don't have enough money to support that without raising taxes," says Sumner Mayor Dave Enslow.

As the city looks toward next year's budget, the future of Sumner Meadows is being discussed.

"We're now looking to make some decisions as to whether to keep this or not keep it," says Enslow.

The city could sell the course to someone else to run. Or they could sell the property for development. Or they could keep it, hoping it makes more money.

People have mixed feelings.

"I know the business is tough, but we don't have very many open spaces left around here. So, I hope they keep it," says Jesse Wilson of Auburn.

"I'd like to see it stay, and I hope it gets turned around and it can start to make money," agrees Jim Cappa of Lake Tapps.

But not everyone thinks the city should hang on to the course.

"If the city can't afford it, why do we have it?" says Sumner resident Greg Ross. "We cut corners and everything else in the city. We cut back on schools, and all that."

Eight years ago, the city faced the same dilemma, and they chose to keep the golf course after a public outcry.