Chelsea leadership discusses potential athletic upgrades
By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer
CHELSEA – The Chelsea Mayor and City Council discussed possible solutions to Chelsea’s need for more athletic facilities and other issues during a work session July 12.
Mayor Earl Niven said Chelsea citizens met with Kevin Theos with the U.S. Tennis Association to discuss possible grants for tennis courts on county property.
Niven then discussed the possibility of lighting the Chelsea High School practice football field. Niven plans to recommend the City Council approve that he advertise bids for field lighting, which may cost more than $100,000, at the July 17 council meeting.
Niven said he hopes the job will be completed by early October to benefit home football games in terms of parking and youth football after the days are shorter due to the time change.
“I think the general budget would handle this (expense),” Niven said, noting he would ask the Shelby County Board of Education to foot the electric bill.
Niven pulled out potential blueprints for a community center and adjacent athletic fields for the property the city previously purchased off Shelby County 39 and Shelby County 51.
“On Highway 39, we’re talking about practice fields, not the main complex we’ve talked about developing,” he said.
Niven said the city would have to bring in three-to-four feet of dirt if the community center were built on the property off Shelby County 51 to prevent flooding.
The city is also looking to possibly purchase a 96-acre plot of land for a community center and additional athletic fields. Niven said the property would cost approximately $10,000 per acre.
“If we think land is hard to get now, think about 10 years from now. It could go from hard to impossible,” Councilmember Tony Picklesimer said. “We need property for what we need in 2025, not practice fields for the fall. We need to look farther out.”
Niven also mentioned about 45 acres behind Chelsea Park Elementary School as potential land for the community center. Niven showed the council a blueprint from 2006 that showed four baseball or softball fields and a gym next to the community center.