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The Chelsea City Council considered a motion to execute a purchase agreement and set a closing date for the property located at 400 N. Freer Road.
In his overview of the City’s interest in the parcel, City Manager John Hanifan reviewed that the City Council approved the purchase option for the property late in 2019. The City’s idea for acquiring the approximately seven acres is to possibly use it for a community center, parkland, or other public use. Mr. Hanifan informed the council that the purchase option would soon expire and that a decision to extend or proceed with the acquisition needed to be made.
The price for the land is $450,000. The recommended plan is to pay $250,000 down from the City’s current cash general fund and then set up an installment plan for the remaining $200,000.
Councilmember Wisely expressed concern over development of the property when the council was against other nearby developments. He also told the council of his preference for having a specific plan for the land’s use before proceeding with a purchase.
Mayor Johnson explained to Council that the purchase of 400 N. Freer began five years ago as a recommendation by the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission. At that time, Chelsea was looking for ways to add more parkland. She also explained that in Chelsea’s 3.3 square miles, options to do so were very limited.
“As we’ve seen with COVID-19, there’s certainly an increase in the use of the parks,” the Mayor told Council. “It would be a wise move on behalf of the city to add in land when and if we can.”
Councilmember Iannelli told Council, “I remember when we did decide to go forward with purchasing this property. There were several reasons. One was the expansion of the city by annexing more land to further green space, potential park space. Also, the possibility of a community center or eve just to the sake of acquiring the land in the event of adding housing at a later date.”
Councilmember Pacheco added that while she, too, was uncomfortable with the absence of a specific plan for the Freer Rd. property, “I am confident, however, in the seven people on the council that will help with this process, and I’m hopeful that over the span of months and years that it may take, and we may be affected by the economy, that we do what’s best for the community.”
When the discussion finished, the council voted in favor of proceeding with a purchase agreement and setting a closing date for the parcel at 400 N. Freer Road.