Chelsea ACE assessment gathers data

Published 2:19 pm Friday, January 19, 2018

CHELSEA – Chelsea city officials, business owners, religious leaders and other stakeholders discussed the current state of the city and its future at the Alabama Communities of Excellence Assessment Day on Thursday, Jan. 18.

According to city council member Casey Morris, the assessment day was the first phase of a plan to improve the overall quality of life in Chelsea through the ACE program.

“It really was to paint a picture of what Chelsea is and where we want to go,” Morris said. “They’ll take that information and come up with an action plan for us.”

The Assessment Day began at around 8:30 a.m. and lasted until 1:30 p.m. During that time, up to 75 attendees discussed planning, infrastructure, public services, businesses, leadership development, education and workforce preparation, healthcare and the overall quality of life in Chelsea and surrounding areas.

Presentations were given by notable county residents and stakeholders, including County Manager Alex Dudchock, Yvonne Murray of 58 Inc, Carol Bruser of Leadership Shelby County and Chelsea resident Chris Grace.

The event was concluded with an open forum to allow attendees to discuss their concerns and give suggestions to improve the city.

Chelsea resident Daniel Dempsey, who identifies as a millennial, said the city would benefit from having a centralized downtown area with restaurants and stores.

“Without a doubt, I think that people my age like being able to go to dinner and walk around without having an agenda,” Dempsey said.

Resident Kyle Murphy echoed Dempsey’s sentiment on a centralized downtown area, and also pushed for developing an industrial park and a stronger focus on small businesses and keeping jobs within the city limits.

“We have to have people in the community that start working here,” Murphy said. “When everybody leaves to go to work, they go to Birmingham. Most of our money leaves and is spent somewhere else for eight hours every day.”

Murphy said he decided to attend part of the Assessment Day due to his personal investment, as a resident, in the city of Chelsea.

“I’m interested in the future of our city,” Murphy said. “I’d like to be a part of the growth process and the planning.”

In the future, Morris said the city plans to host additional meetings about enhancing the city’s strong points and potential improvements to the city.

“We will have more meetings like this to continue to brainstorm and create a strategic plan,” Morris said.