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By Seth Kinker,

On Mar. 21 the Chelsea Downtown Development Authority (DDA) discussed their master plan update along with the return of the sculpture walk this year.

The new master plan will be amended from a 10-year update down to a five-year update amendable over time. Once the final budget is voted upon, the operating numbers will go in that new plan that is still a working draft.

Crystal Scott, representing the SculptureWalk series in Chelsea hosted by Chelsea Area Festival and Events (CAFE), was on hand at the Mar. 21 meeting to introduce herself and the plans for the 10th sculpture walk kicking off on Jun. 6 with the first Thursday night summer concert series downtown.

Scott went over the selections, the selection process, and the effort to reach out to new artists to get them involved this year in addition to many returning artists.

The budget for the project was discussed at the meeting with the total being around $20,000. CAFE received a grant for $3,600, CAFE donated $5,000, and local sponsors added another $1,500. Scott was requesting $6,500 from the DDA to help defer the costs of the stipends and operational costs

Scott also mentioned the ability and hope to add another stop in the sculpture walk at the new Palmer Commons, with the support thus far of city manager John Hanifan and CAFE.

“We have the means to make it happen,” said Scott. “I think it would be a beautiful addition.”

DDA member Jennifer Fairfield talked how well the sculpture walk has been received in Chelsea and how it was missed last year.

“I’m looking forward to seeing this come back, I love a number of these pieces,” said Fairfield after the DDA was presented with the selections for this year.

DDA member Phil Tolliver asked if a shortfall was expected every year and Scott replied that she anticipates a self-sustaining program once again as it starts back up and gets its legs under it.

DDA member Doris Galvin brought up that self-sustaining or not, the sculpture walk series is something that the DDA should consider partnering with that benefits the community.

Mayor Melissa Johnson echoed the positive thoughts of the return of the sculpture walk series but requested a more detailed budget for the project be submitted with the use of taxpayer dollars in mind.

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