What’s Going Down at TimberTown?


Kids enjoying TimberTown in Chelsea. Photo courtesy Doug Marrin.

Significant progress has been made in the revitalization of Chelsea’s beloved TimberTown park. Announced in June, the primary goals of the project are to upgrade the park’s infrastructure, formalize a new B2B trailhead, repair and refurbish both the Pathway to Renewal and the play structure, and add pickleball courts.

During the November 27 city council meeting, Chelsea City Manager Marty Colburn provided a comprehensive overview of the status of the various projects. “As any project evolves, things pop up, things change a little bit, so we’ll try to keep you up to speed on this as much as possible,” Coburn told the council.

Some of the recently completed work includes new water and electrical lines for the park. At a cost of approximately $60,000, the work was completed by city staff rather than by an outsourced contractor. “I want to recognize both the water department and the electrical department, Mr. Corey Davis and Mr. Charles Stevens,” said Coburn. He continued, “I want to thank them and their efforts to support this project.”

City Manager Coburn said that the cost was substantially lower than it would have been if it were outsourced and that it’s part of the city’s contribution to the project. He also says there will be other areas of work that can be completed by city staff that will continue to help contain costs, including some of the parking lot work and relocating large stones where necessary. “That means staff time and staff costs, but we recognize the efforts, the Herculean efforts of the fundraising,” said Coburn, “these are areas that we can help with…and try to keep it as affordable as possible.”

Coburn also said that preliminary work to repair the mosaic at the Pathway has begun. “The mosaic is a very unique piece of art,” he said. “The artist is now working on the actual artwork.”

Following the City Manager’s update, the Chairperson of the Chelsea Parks and Recreation Commission, Shawn Personke, spoke about the revitalization of the play structure at TimberTown. “As Marty mentioned, Play By Design is working on three different designs,” said Personke.

Play By Design is the recreational design firm contracted to prepare options for the structure. “The first one is kind of a minimum design, just some repair, maybe a couple of new play elements. The second one is more play elements and more enhancements. And then the third one is the one we're kind of shooting for where it's keeping the essence of TimberTown, but more beautiful and more wonderful, in a marquee park so that we have another wonderful opportunity for building community.” Design options are scheduled to be completed before the end of this year.

“To what extent is accessibility a part of your design?” asked Councilperson Ruddock. “It’s a big part,” said Personke. “We've decided to kind of look at all of our parks in general. Marty [Coburn] has reached out to some experts in that field to see what needs to be done overall, specifically at TimberTown, and then of course Main Street parks too,” she said.

The city believes most of the work on TimberTown will be completed by the fall of 2024.

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