Chelsea council discusses status of capital projects

The Chelsea City Council on March 3 looked at the progress of the city's community center and sports complex projects, and damage to a building at a park off Shelby County 51. (File)

The Chelsea City Council on March 3 looked at the progress of the city’s community center and sports complex projects, and damage to a building at a park off Shelby County 51. (File)

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

CHELSEA – Chelsea City Council members reviewed the status of two capital projects and repair needs on a local park building during a pre-council meeting March 3.

Chelsea Mayor Earl Niven led discussions about the city’s community center and sports complex projects, and a recent incident in which a vehicle allegedly damaged a building at the park off Shelby County 51.

Niven said work on the community center is “moving along” a bit slower because of the weather.

“There’s so much going on internally,” Niven said, noting crews are starting electrical, sprinkler system and duct work, and are preparing to pour concrete for the second-floor indoor walking track.

The $3.8 million project could be completed as early as May.

Nearly 30,000 square feet, the community center will serve Chelsea residents of all ages with features such as classrooms, meeting rooms, an exercise room, a kitchen, a gym and the walking track.

Niven said work at the Chelsea Sports Complex site off Shelby County 11 is also moving slower because of weather-related issues.

The complex will sit on about 106 acres of land and will include competitive tennis courts, baseball fields, football and soccer fields, and a 5-acre lake and dam.

Niven said the cost of the dam might be more than the original estimate of $63,000.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be between $7 million and $8 million.

The council also discussed plans for expanding the parking area for a ballpark off Shelby County 47 to include a gravel lot belonging to Liberty Baptist Church.

Niven said he is in the process of working out an agreement with the church in which it would donate the property to the city for park guests to use throughout the week, with the contingency that the church would have priority use of the lot on Sundays and Wednesdays.

The council plans to bid out the work necessary to prepare the lot and create a gravel walkway connecting the lot to the ballpark in the next few weeks.

Regarding the incident at the park off Shelby County 51, Niven said tire tracks at the park indicate a vehicle of unknown size clipped the side of the building, tearing the awning and knocking bricks down.

Niven attributed the cause of the damage to “carelessness.”

“Things like this are going to happen wherever you have property,” he said.

Councilwoman Juanita Champion asked whether a camera could be installed at the park, and Niven said he would look into the idea.

“Let’s get some security out there,” Champion said.

During a brief regular council meeting following the pre-council meeting, the council approved minutes from the last meetings and to pay bills.

Niven said March 1 was Chelsea’s 19th anniversary as a city and invited those in attendance to enjoy cake and tea with the council after the meeting.

“The future of Chelsea is the greatest of any city in Shelby County,” Niven said. “We have property ready for development. We’re ready for growth.”