Chelsea Council OKs property-soil exchange at sports complex
Published 4:20 pm Wednesday, March 2, 2016
By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer
CHELSEA – Business concerning property and soil expenses at the Chelsea Sports Complex off Shelby County 11 encountered opposition from several City Council members at a March 1 meeting.
The council was divided on a proposed ordinance to declare a 35,000-square-foot piece of property as surplus property and convey it to the Brogdon Group Inc. for use as a water substation in exchange for 50,000 square yards of dirt to be used for public and municipal purposes, along with proposed resolutions authorizing payment for soil preparation and erosion control for the tennis courts site at the complex.
In a pre-council meeting March 1, Councilwoman Juanita Champion asked if the ordinance could be separated, as she could not vote in favor of exchanging the surplus property for 50,000 square feet of dirt, citing the added expense – roughly $60,000 – for the city to have the dirt dumped at the site as a reason for her opposition.
Mayor Earl Niven said the ordinance did not mean the tennis courts would be completed now, but that the measure would save the city money over time.
“All we’re doing is prep work that in the long run is going to save us gobs of money,” Niven said. “I’m for leaving it as is. We need to move on because we’re too far in the game not to move forward.”
Councilwoman Allison Nichols said she understood Champion’s point, but was still in favor of the ordinance, adding, “I think that’s the best deal you’re ever going to get for the dirt.”
Councilman Dale Neuendorf said he wasn’t sure the exchange of “very essential property” for dirt was “the best for the city,” and Councilman Tony Picklesimer disagreed.
“I think this is a very fair deal,” Picklesimer said. “It’s getting something done. Do I think it’s perfect timing? No.”
The ordinance passed 5-1, with Champion voting no.
The property is located at the end of Sports Highland Parkway (High Mountain Pass).
A resolution authorizing payment to Shirley Brothers Excavating Inc. for $46,604.40 for the soil preparation for the sports complex tennis courts passed 4-2, with Champion and Neuendorf voting no.
A resolution authorizing payment to Con-Site Services Inc. for $11,680 for erosion control for the soil at the tennis courts also passed 4-2, with Champion and Neuendorf voting no.
The council unanimously approved an ordinance to declare the “old block building” as surplus property. The building, located off Chesser Drive, was previously an old tire store.
Niven said the city wants to remove the building in order for the fire department to utilize the property for training purposes in the future.
Additionally, the council approved a resolution authorizing payment for an additional Shelby County contract law officer for the COMPACT 2020 Initiative, which assists schools and individuals in dealing with drug problems.
Approval of the resolution allows Chelsea to participate in the program by adding an additional deputy for about $45,000, Niven said, and the initiative will donate $35,000 to each city that participates.
In other business, the council voted in favor of declaring the mobile home located at 104 Chesser Drive next to the fire department as surplus property in order for the city to sell it.
A resolution to accept the lowest and best bid of $54,837 for a new chassis for the fire department rescue unit vehicle passed.
After the meeting was adjourned, council members invited those in attendance to enjoy cake and refreshments in honor of the city’s 20th anniversary, March 1.
“We’re proud of what we have here in Chelsea, just as we were proud of what we had here in 1996,” Niven said. “Twenty years ago, we didn’t know what we were getting into, but we knew what we had. We had a lot of opportunity to begin with.”
A 20th anniversary celebration and ribbon cutting ceremony for the Chelsea Community Center that opened in October 2015 are set for Sunday, March 20 from 2-4 p.m.