Next Steps Underway for Chelsea’s Proposed Main St Park
By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter
Chelsea’s Main Street Park Alliance (MSPA) purchased the old Federal Screw Works property downtown on Main St. on August 3. Wasting no time, the alliance immediately began the process of transforming it into a city park.
MSPA intends to convert the empty, blighted parcel into a public park. With the purchase finalized, the group has 13 months for due diligence to determine if the abandoned manufacturing property can be converted into a community park.
MSPA has submitted a proposal to the city outlining a partnership for the development and operation of the park.
“The City is currently in the process of reviewing the proposal and providing feedback to the Main Street Park Alliance concerning a potential partnership centered around the future use of the old Federal Screw Works property,” said City Manager Roy Atkinson in an email. “The City of Chelsea is excited about the continued forward progress toward the conceptual Main Street Park Project.”
Federal Screw Works was an automotive supplier manufacturing various metal components from 1917 to 2005. The company contributed significantly to the war effort during WWII. Such was its output that the military awarded the employees and company for their work.
Since its closing, various developers have considered the property. However, the challenges of converting the contaminated manufacturing site for commercial and/or residential use has proved too much. However, MSPA sees a way to put the property to good use by procuring available funds to clean it up and keep its activities above ground in the form of a community space.
Other big news is that MSPA received a $65,000 grant from the Washtenaw County Brownfield Authority to assess the ground contamination created from decades of the former manufacturing process conducted on the site. Testing began on August 8. MSPA, under the guidance of its environmental consultants, the Michigan Dept of Environmental Great Lakes and Energy, will develop a plan for the safe conversion of the property for public use.
MSPA is leading the effort, but many community members, businesses, and nonprofits are joining the initiative. In a letter of support, Julie Deppner, Executive Director and CEO of Silver Maples of Chelsea, shared her sentiments.
“It is clear the seniors in Chelsea play an important role in the success of our community. They actively support local businesses, education, and health care facilities. The possibility of bringing additional park space and opportunities to engage in physical activities for our seniors is crucial to their physical health and longevity. Even more important, the creation of an intergenerational gathering space targeted for our senior population and our youth, is critical in enhancing the mental wellness of both populations.”
MSPA announced in its update that 40% of the funding needed had been pledged.
The group invites anyone who would like to join them in the effort by donating $3-$5 can do so at https://www.mainstreetpark.org/donation
Images courtesy of MSPA