Chelsea mayor welcomes large crowd at chamber event
Published 6:15 pm Thursday, March 10, 2016
By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer
CHELSEA – The senior adult wing of the Chelsea Community Center teemed with residents and leaders from across the county on March 10 as Mayor Earl Niven discussed the city’s history and progress over breakfast.
Niven talked about Chelsea’s population and business growth since its incorporation 20 years ago, shared memories and recognized numerous people and groups that have contributed to the city’s success at a South Shelby Chamber of Commerce Coffee with the Mayor event.
“We’re a caring city, and we’re proud you’re here this morning,” Niven said to those in attendance, including City Council members, law enforcement officers, public service volunteers and local business owners. “We’re proud of what has taken place in Chelsea.”
Chelsea averages 150-160 new homes built and 500-600 new residents moving in each year, and the city’s sales tax has shown a double-digit increase each year for several years, Niven said.
“The city is still growing, and we’re very blessed,” Niven said.
Bonnie Atchison, a former South Shelby Chamber executive director, reflected on the time period when Chelsea had started to solidify as U.S. 280 continued to grow commercially.
“I went to every business on our side of the county,” Atchison said. “There was a business here, and I would visit that business. The message I have to every business I visited was this: You are part of a gem in the state of Alabama. It is an undiscovered, rich jewel.”
Atchison praised Niven and his wife, June, for their assistance to her and dedication to the city.
“They were so good to help me and help Shelby County make Chelsea what it is today,” Atchison said.
Chelsea has five schools, the new community center and a new sports complex to be completed in phases over the next few years.
Niven’s fifth and final term as Chelsea’s first and only mayor will end on Oct. 31.
County Manager Alex Dudchock called Niven a “doer,” a person of “high character” and someone who follows through with plans.
“It’s been a pleasure working with Mayor Niven and everyone associated with that,” Dudchock said. “God bless you.”
South Shelby Chamber Executive Director April Stone presented gifts to Niven and City Councilwoman Juanita Champion, who will retire after her current term after 12 years of service.
“Whatever has (been) accomplished, remember it took the whole group,” Niven said. “Those people in the cemetery, they laid the foundation for us. It takes everybody.”
Contributors to the breakfast provided at Coffee with the Mayor included Publix, Tee’s Bakery, Sonic, Bojangle’s, Sneaky Pete’s, Whataburger, Taco Bell, Winn-Dixie and Chelsea Coffee House.
City Clerk Becky Landers organized the event.
“We are a family here in Chelsea,” Niven said. “We have a lot to offer here. We try to meet the needs of our people.”