Update on Chelsea’s Main Street Park Initiative


Conceptual rendering of the city park imagined for the abandoned and blighted Federal Screw Works property in downtown Chelsea. Courtesy MSPA.

Chelsea’s Main Street Park Alliance (MSPA) has announced some exciting updates. Their ambitious plan to transform the once-blighted Federal Screw Works property into a vibrant city park is gaining momentum, with significant progress being made on multiple fronts.

MSPA has completed extensive environmental testing on the site and is finalizing Phase 1 & 2 reports, with completion anticipated by May 1. The organization has invested around $135,000 in testing and analysis, working closely with the EGLE (Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy) and the City of Chelsea to ensure the site's suitability for a park.

The good news is that all parties have agreed the site can indeed be converted into a park, as long as appropriate due care measures are taken. MSPA's proposed environmental Due Care plan involves capping the entire site with two feet of clean soil or concrete where necessary. Additionally, underground storage tanks will be removed, and excavation will occur in the site's southwest corner to address soil saturated with oil. MSPA plans to submit the Due Care plan to EGLE in July for approval.

The Main Street Park Project is estimated to cost a total of $6.7 million, excluding the structure. To date, MSPA has raised approximately $2.5 million through private and corporate donations. They have also applied for a $993,800 EGLE grant for the environmental Due Care work and are collaborating with Washtenaw County Brownfields to seek an additional $700,000 environmental grant. If successful, these grants will bring MSPA's funding to over 50% of their target!

The City of Chelsea and MSPA are working diligently to form a partnership for the park's development, with both parties collaborating on a Development Agreement. The city has been an invaluable partner, helping to move the project forward at a steady pace.

MSPA is also in the process of hiring a professional park design firm to create the park's initial design, which will incorporate public input on desired amenities. The recent Chelsea Expo provided a fantastic opportunity for residents to share their ideas, with popular suggestions including a splash pad, rock climbing wall, skatepark, bocce ball courts, shaded seating areas, and various sports facilities.

With a tentative timeline in place, MSPA anticipates beginning structural work on the park in 2024, aiming for a grand opening in Autumn 2025. Chelsea residents can look forward to a beautifully designed, environmentally responsible park that will bring fun and relaxation to the community for years to come.

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