Chelsea shares draft of Chelsea Park System Master Plan

Published 10:09 pm Tuesday, June 20, 2023

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

CHELSEA – The Chelsea City Council presented the first draft of the Chelsea Park System Master Plan during a regularly scheduled meeting on June 20.

During the meeting, Dix.Hite + Partners presented an early version of the Chelsea Park System Master Plan based on feedback from recent surveys.

“The overall goal of this plan is to create a community-driven plan that is focused on the future of the existing park system as we see it today,” Dix.Hite Landscape Architect Preston Sorrell said.

The plan features a variety of suggestions to the city’s existing park system that came from surveys.

“We’ve developed a vision for each part of the public’s feedback tonight, and we’ve proposed additional athletic facilities, additional trails, playgrounds, outdoor swimming, pools (and) parking,” Dix.Hite Principal Landscape Architect Ryan Collins said. “(They are) things that currently exist in some of the parks and are certainly underserved that were identified in the survey.”

Some areas that residents requested in the survey were dog parks, a swimming facility, more trails, playgrounds, more shaded seating and gathering places.

After the city council meeting, attendees were able to closely view the current plans, ask questions and provide feedback and suggestions.

“We’ll then use that feedback to refine vision’s plans and then also create an implementation strategy and analysis budget that will be captured in the final park system plan,” Sorrell said.

Dix.Hite’s analysis of Chelsea began with visiting each of the city’s parks and drawing up suggestions to address and improve the cities amenities based on public feedback.

“Melrose (Park) was really the launching point for this project,” Councilmember Casey Morris said. “(It) includes anything from an aquatic center to a lot of shade structures. It’s really about making sure that the area is finished first and foremost. And then, looking out towards the future of what else could be programmed out there.”

Chelsea Parks and Recreation Director Bart Pettus explained some of the improvements that have been suggested for the Chelsea Sports Complex.

“We’ve now completed phase two, so now they’re trying to create a little bit of connectivity between the two parks with trails and playgrounds,” he said. “It’s exciting to see, not only this facility, but our other five facilities (and) the potential that they have (for) improvements that we desperately need.”

Dix.Hite Designer Emily Gustafson shared some of the proposed changes to Chelsea’s recreational park, including the moving of the baseball and softball diamond fields to Highway 11 and Highway 47 to make room for a football, soccer and lacrosse complex.

“There’s some big changes in this park, but I think it’s really needed,” Gustafson said. “I feel like it’s one of the parks that has the most potential to be a really nice area.”

The tennis courts on Highway 51 also have several proposed improvements including, the resurfacing of existing courts, the addition of trails and the construction of a fire department training facility.

Councilmember Morris said Aug. 1 will likely be the day that data collection is done and shared the next steps involved in the finalization of the Chelsea Park System Master Plan

“Dix.Hite will then go to work and put together a plan (that) they will present to us and it will be a road map,” he said. “ There are no projects that are guaranteed, there are no projects that are funded yet. These are just the various things that we see in the community, and our citizens have said, ‘This is what we want you all to do.’ We’ll then take that as a council and start to prioritize these projects”