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The Main Street Park Association (MSPA) has released its latest newsletter detailing significant progress and upcoming plans for the new park site. Here are the key highlights:

Site Acquisition and Environmental Efforts

MSPA has acquired the property at 511 Congdon Street, located adjacent to the former Federal Screw Works site. This acquisition is part of the organization’s ongoing commitment to environmental remediation, particularly on the contaminated southwest corner of the site. Before demolition, an asbestos abatement contractor safely removed hazardous materials, and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy has inspected and approved all demolition work to date. The association also salvaged several hundred bricks and steel trusses for potential reuse in the park.

New Park Features

Bocce Ball Courts: In response to community feedback, Bocce Ball courts will be included in the park’s design. This sport, known for its social and physical benefits, is accessible to individuals with special needs, promoting social contact, physical development, and self-confidence.

Swings: Instead of traditional benches, the park will feature swings similar to those recently installed at The Rail Park in Philadelphia. The swings aim to provide a space for rest, relaxation, and contemplation, aligning with MSPA’s vision of creating inclusive and transformative public spaces.

Image courtesy of MSPA

Skate Park: The skate park, designed with input from local skaters through surveys and focus groups, will cater to all ages and abilities. Led by local skate enthusiast Gus Alafita, the park’s design process involved collaboration with VIRIDIS Design Group and Spohn Ranch Skateparks. The next focus group meeting is scheduled for June 19th, inviting further community input to refine the design.

Pavilion: The pavilion will serve as a much-needed shade element and a performance stage, with accessible restrooms included in the design. This feature will support various community events and gatherings, providing a versatile space for public use.

Financial Milestones

MSPA recently completed a financial audit with Shea & Associates, enhancing financial transparency and supporting grant applications. The organization has secured a $350,000 grant from the Glick Foundation of Jackson and $100,000 from the Chelsea Hospital, covering approximately 65% of the anticipated project costs. Despite these achievements, MSPA continues to seek additional funding and welcomes community support to bridge the remaining financial gap.

Image courtesy of MSPA

Next Steps in Development

The below-grade construction plans will be presented to the City of Chelsea Planning Commission on June 18th. To adhere to the project’s ambitious timeline, the review of above-ground park amenities will occur in a subsequent meeting. Environmental remediation will continue, with excavation of the southwest corner expected in early fall 2024. Further soil removal will coincide with park construction in 2025, funded by grants from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the Washtenaw County Brownfield Authority. The design phase for park amenities and structures is set to begin in mid-2025.

Community Involvement and Support

MSPA emphasizes the importance of community involvement in the park’s development. Stakeholders are encouraged to participate in focus groups, surveys, and other feedback mechanisms to shape the park’s features and design. The project aims to foster a sense of place, belonging, and engagement within the community.

For more information and to get involved, or make a donation, visit https://www.mainstreetpark.org/

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