Mayor Picklesimer shares update on the city of Chelsea

Published 10:06 am Monday, October 16, 2023

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

CHELSEA – Mayor Tony Picklesimer provided an update on the state of the city of Chelsea during a recent Chelsea Business Alliance luncheon.

The annual State of the City of Chelsea address was given during a quarterly CBA luncheon at the Chelsea Community Center on Wednesday, Oct. 4.

“The state of our city remains very strong,” Picklesimer said. “We did successfully just pass our 2023-2024 budget, and it was a record budget with revenues of $15.2 million. I just can’t believe that.”

Picklesimer said the very first budget for the city of Chelsea was only $36,000 in 1996.

“My goal for this last two years of serving as mayor is to bring additional jobs and companies here and to raise our daytime population,” Picklesimer said.

During the meeting, Picklesimer addressed concerns with the housing market.

“This slowing in the housing market, however, is really reflected in the resale market—there’s only a slight decline in new home construction,” he said. “The days on the market for resale in our city have been inching upward, although we did issue 213 new home permits in 2022. There’s still a lot of new homes being built here.”

Picklesimer said a local realtor told him the slowdown is tied to interest rates.

“Today, families can’t afford the same size home that they could just two years ago,” he said. “So, that’s created a little bit of a slowdown, but we remain very healthy.”

Picklesimer said the city has seen commercial growth and that the city has recently sold one parcel in its business park.

“That remains a high priority for me in my last two years of service to the city—to start growing that business park and bring in jobs and businesses and companies here,” Picklesimer said.

Picklesimer shared an update on the ABC wholesale distribution center that is currently under construction.

“This building is being built on property that the city owns, and the city will be the landlord for this property,” he said. “It will bring with it 15 jobs, but it will also bring many years of revenue to the city.”

Picklesimer also shared on the construction of Scooter’s Coffee and the upcoming hotel located at Atchison Drive near Buffalo Wild Wings and Arby’s.

“This hotel promises to be a big boost to our city,” Picklesimer said. “Why is this hotel such a big deal? Obviously, lodging taxes are good and we’re happy to get them and the council approved an incentive package to share those lodging taxes back with the developer or builder of the hotel. What I’m most excited about is the hotel promises to raise our population by 100 people a day.”

Picklesimer said the city continues to focus on its partnership with Shelby County Schools.

“In our 2023-2024 budget, my council approved $130,000 to be divided equally between our four schools to be used at their discretion,” he said. “The one cent sales tax that was passed in 2019 has paid large dividends to our schools. We recently approved a new gymnasium for Chelsea Park Elementary, funded solely by our education fund at a cost of $4.2 million.”

Included in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget is $2.5 million for the construction of a visitors locker room expansion at the high school, which will also include a new wrestling area for the wrestling team.

The Lady Hornets will be receiving $180,000 in funding for the construction of a new hitting facility.

“All of this is being done using the revenue generated by the one cents sales tax,” Picklesimer said. “To improve not only the classroom and academics, but also the facilities at our schools—they are very important to us.”

During his presentation, Picklesimer also discussed the master plan for the high school, including a new competition gymnasium, which was first unveiled during a meeting in January.

“This building would be a game changer for Chelsea High School, and it would positively change the experience for our students and for our citizens for generations to come,” Picklesimer said.

The project is planned to be funded leveraging portions from the city’s one cent sales tax as well as help from the city of Westover. Discussions on how to move forward with the project are currently underway between the city and the SCS Board of Education.

“We’re proud of our city—proud about how it looks and proud of how it feels,” Picklesimer said in concluding his address. “Our ‘All About Family” slogan remains just as important to us now as it did at our formation 27 years ago, and the future of our city is very bright. I look forward to watching it grow. Thank you for the opportunity to serve as the city’s second mayor. It’s been one of the greatest honors of my life.”