Will Ryan House stay or go?

Will Ryan House stay or go?

(Pictured: The Ryan House in better days, before it was declared unsafe by Sumner city officials and scheduled for demolition).

Demolition of a historic former residence in Sumner is on hold while the city’s plans receive a court-ordered review.

On March 13, Pierce County Superior Court judge ruled in favor of citizens who filed a land-use petition against the proposed demolition of Ryan House. The judge rescinded the demolition permit and directed the city for additional public notice on the project through the its  Comprehensive Plan amendment process, which is scheduled to end later this year with a City Council decision on land-use, growth, and development policies. An eventual ruling on whether the demolition can proceed is pending.

Officials said the city will follow the court order but noted the reason for demolishing the building hasn’t changed: That it can only be saved if money is available to repair “significant structural issues” that are necessary to make it safe and meet current building codes.

The council voted last September the building house and convert the property to a city park. A group of citizens called Save the Ryan House fought the decision in court and is part of an effort to obtain funding and backing to preserve the house. So far, about about $1 million from local and countywide tax revenue has been generated, but city officials maintain the repairs are too expensive and house is beyond saving.

The Sumner Historical Society has called Ryan House, which dates to the 1870s in one form or another, possibly the oldest structure in the city. It was home for one of the city’s pioneer families and has served at various times as a post office, a store, a public library, and most recently as a museum run by the Historical Society.