Chelsea announces closure of city facilities, Fire in the Foothills cancellation

CHELSEA – As at least one case has been reported in the city, Chelsea Mayor Tony Picklesimer on Tuesday, March 17, announced steps being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including the closure of the Chelsea Community Center, Hwy. 39 Senior Center and Chelsea Public Library.

“The spread of the COVID-19 virus is having a profound impact on our fellow Americans including some right here in Chelsea,” Picklesimer said. “As a city, we would rather be ahead of the curve than behind it. Our desire is to be proactive rather than reactive to this situation.

“First and foremost, my job as your mayor is to keep our people safe. The safety of the people of Chelsea is not simply a priority. Priorities change. Safety is our core value. It is the number one criteria in every decision we make.”

The senior center will close at 5 p.m. March 17 and remain closed until further notice, the mayor said.

Chelsea Public Library is closed to the public but will offer curbside service to its patrons.

All Parks and Recreation facilities, complexes and playgrounds have been closed, and all Chelsea Youth Club sports games and practices have been postponed indefinitely.

Picklesimer also announced that Municipal Court will be postponed until a date to be determined, and that the Chelsea Kiwanis Club has made the decision to cancel the Fire in the Foothills event scheduled for April 4.

“City Hall will remain open,” Picklesimer said. “We would, however, like to discourage any visits to city hall that can be avoided. A 30-day grace period will be extended on any licenses or permits that need or require renewal. We will continue to conduct the business of the city and will continue having council meetings and planning commission meetings as scheduled including the meeting scheduled for tonight.

“My request is that you watch our meeting online as many of you do already and not come to the meeting in person. Although all meetings are certainly open to the public, we strongly encourage that you take advantage of watching the meeting being livestreamed on Facebook.”

Picklesimer said he has met with the EMS director for the city, Capt. Mark Rikard, the city’s communications director, Capt. Don Williamson, and Shelby County EMA Director Hub Harvey, who also serves as a liaison to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We have established protocols for our Fire & Rescue personnel that will be followed in the event you call our Fire & Rescue Department during this time,” Picklesimer said. “We have established Disaster Relief accounts to provide the safety materials needed to keep our rescue professionals safe as they care for you. I want to assure you that if you call 911 and need us, we will respond. We will respond with the same great professionalism and care that you have grown accustomed to. We will be here for the people of Chelsea.”

Picklesimer said Chelsea’s motto, “We are all about family,” should be remembered in this time of crisis.

“We are a close-knit community, and the care for our neighbors is a responsibility that we take very seriously,” he said. “With the average age of our population being in the late 30s, we are blessed to be a healthy community. My request is that if you are in good health and able, that you would find a senior citizen or someone in your neighborhood that has an underlying physical condition that might need a helping hand during this time. Make welfare checks on them. Offer to go and buy groceries for them. Spend a few minutes to let them know they are not alone during this crisis.

“Lastly, we are a community of faith. I know and believe in my heart that God is still on his throne. This virus did not take him by surprise. He has allowed this for a reason. He has a divine plan for this. It is our job as believers to seek his purpose through this and to show his love to others as we walk through this difficult time.”

“This is not a time for fear or panic. We will get through this. We will come out of this on the other side stronger and more determined than ever before. I want to assure you that your city will be here for you when you need us. We are “Chelsea Strong” and we will remain that way for those that will come along behind us.