Chelsea Council Considers Timber Town Renovation and B2B Collaboration


Chelsea City Manager Roy Atkinson updated the city council on efforts to find a place for a community center. The most recent consideration involves proposed upgrades to Timber Town Park.

“The City of Chelsea has been engaged in discussions with various community stakeholders regarding a potential public-private partnership to upgrade Timber Town Park.

Atkinson went on to say the proposed improvements would include:

  1. Infrastructure upgrades (parking lot, lighting, restrooms)
  2. Play structure repairs and improvements
  3. Six pickleball courts
  4. Restoration of the existing pathways
  5. Designation of the park as an official Border-to-Border Trailhead

However, Atkinson tapped the brakes by explaining a new community center could dramatically affect the park improvements.

“Recently, the city formed the Community Center Task Force working group to assess potential sites for the community center,” said Atkinson. “I’ve been working with Steve Petty of 5 Healthy Towns on putting together a pro forma for the potential community center options. And Timber Town is one of the options for a stick build site.”

Atkinson suggested that before the council commits to improving Timber Town, it should allow the task force to complete its review of the site for a community center. The City Manager recommended conditional approval of park renovations determined by the study's outcome. The Community Center Task Force plans to submit its findings to the council in February for its visioning session.

Atkinson’s council agenda item explains that funding for the park enhancements would be “provided from private sources supplemented by funds from WCPARC and HWPI linked to approval of the trailhead proposal. City would be asked to provide all electrical upgrades and other construction activities within the capacity of their DPW.”

Councilmember Wiseley expressed that he had “serious concerns” about that last sentence explaining it was too ambiguous regarding the city’s cost and DPW’s role.

Atkinson explained that when the agreement is written out, the roles and costs would be clearly defined.

None of this, however, would affect immediately designating the city park as a B2B Trailhead. “Timber Town is a great location for a designated trailhead,” said Atkinson.

Jeff Hardcastle, Board Chair for Huron Waterloo Pathways Initiative, was on hand to explain that Timber Town was one of five parks HWPI is hoping to co-brand to improve access to the B2B. A wayfinding and informational kiosk would be installed. The park would then be a reference point for people searching online where to access the B2B.

The council voted in favor of conditional approval of the Timber Town Park project pending the Community Center Task Force findings and, at that time, enter into a partnership agreement with Huron Waterloo Pathways Initiative and Washtenaw Co Parks & Rec.

The council also approved the designation of Timber Town Park as an official trailhead for the B2B, with trailhead naming to be determined by the city and then co-branded with the B2B Trail.

Photo: Timber Town Park in Chelsea. Photo by Doug Marrin.

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