Chelsea City Council approves purchase of 423 acres for creation of sports complex

Published 1:35 pm Thursday, May 30, 2013

By KATIE MCDOWELL/For the Reporter

CHELSEA – The Chelsea City Council approved the purchase of 423 acres behind Chelsea High School during a special called meeting on the morning of May 24.

Council member Juanita Champion said the total cost of the property will be about $1.48 million, but the council voted to pay $200,000 immediately.

“That just holds the property for us until we get our financing,” she said.

The city will develop a sports complex on the property, including fields for baseball, softball, football, soccer and tennis. About 90 acres of hillside will be developed into walking trails.

“This (purchase) means expanded parks and recreation facilities for the city of Chelsea,” Champion said. “The parents have come to us and said we don’t have enough facilities … They have asked for this.”

Champion said the first step for developing the property is building a road behind the high school, which should begin “almost immediately.” The next steps are clearing timber and grading the land.

“We’re just going to take it one step at a time,” Champion said.

Champion said the property was purchased from “a group of investors.”

The property is located in Pelham. In previous Chelsea City Council meetings, Mayor Earl S. Niven and council members discussed asking the city of Pelham to de-annex the land so Chelsea could annex it. However, Pelham officials have expressed interest in creating a joint municipal park, which Niven and council members said they were against.

Champion said plans for the sports complex will continue, even if the property remains in Pelham city limits.

“We can still develop it,” she said.

Funding for the purchase of the property and the construction of the sports complex will come from a recent sales tax revenue increase and bonds. During a May 8 meeting, the City Council approved a one percent sales tax increase, which will generate approximately $100,000 a month.

The revenue also will fund a variety of capital projects and personnel expenses, including the widening and paving of King’s Home Road, the modification of the Shelby County 47 and Shelby County 39 intersection and the construction of a community/senior adult center.