Chelsea mayor remembers town’s beginning

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Earl Niven remembers March 1, 1996 well.

&uot;We were celebrating the birth of Chelsea,&uot; he recalls. &uot;We’re proud of where we are, and what we’ve completed the last nine years.&uot;

Niven and those attending last week’s city council meeting celebrated Chelsea’s nine-year birthday with a cake and other refreshments. There was a lot to celebrate, as Niven and council members gave mostly positive reports:

* Twenty-three volunteers of the Chelsea Citizen Observer Patrol (COP) program recently completed emergency response training.

As they were being honored for completing the program, Niven walked them to a city hall room, and announced they could use the room for their business.

&uot;This has been a real big morale boost,&uot; Niven said.

Council member Don King gave one recent example of how the COP program has been effective. He mentioned two men on night patrol that noticed a woman sitting by herself in her car at a city location.

They inquired if she was okay, and she told them she had driven to the location to get away from her home for a few minutes. However, the two men noticed she had an Etowah County tag, and found it strange she would drive from northeast Alabama to Chelsea just for some time alone.

They contacted a local law enforcement officer, who ran a quick check on the vehicle and determined the woman had several outstanding warrants. She was arrested a short time later.

&uot;They were there. They observed. And this was the outcome,&uot; King said.

* King also reported progress on a planned new fire station on Hwy. 69 for the southwestern portion of the city.

&uot;The interior walls are going up,&uot; he said. The station should be completed by early to mid-spring.

He said several Chelsea individuals recently took the fire instructor one course, along with other individuals from Winterboro and Rocky Ridge.

In other matters:

* Fire Chief Wayne Shirley said February was a busy month for his department, with 67 total calls. That is a 56 percent increase over the 43 calls in February 2004.

&uot;Most were medical and fire alarms,&uot; Shirley said of last month.

* Niven announced Chelsea was recently named a Tree City for the sixth year in a row.

The announcement came just a few days after the city’s Arbor Day Celebration, which was attended by approximately 150 people. Those attending were offered free trees, and also took part in the dedication of 15 trees that will serve as a buffer between the railroad and city hall.

* Niven also said the city library remained busy during February, with 1,006 checkouts.

* The council spent several minutes discussing changes to a resolution and minutes approved on July 1.

The resolution involved the Chelsea Improvement District, which allowed Niven to sign any needed documents regarding the district.

However, attorney Heyward Hosch, who represents the developers, said some reimbursement issues were not addressed in the minutes. The council spent several minutes discussing how to make the changes legally. They determined to delay a vote until the next meeting.

* Council member Jim Ferguson, who is also on the city’s senior citizen and neighborhood committee, said the city would support an AARP defensive driving class. Gail Hahn of AARP talked with the council about the proposed class.

&uot;We’ll establish a date that’s certain, and then coordinate the effort,&uot; with churches, senior groups and other groups, Ferguson said.

The class will likely be broken down into two four-hour sessions