Visioning Session Looks at 2019 for Chelsea

By Seth Kinker,

The City of Chelsea held their annual visioning session on Feb. 13 at the Comfort Inn Conference Center in Chelsea, MI.

The visioning session outlines strategic direction and goals for the coming year and brings together all the topics the various councils and commissions under discussion for the city.

Economic development, updating the master plan, an update on the parks and recreation plan, and transportation/street construction were the main topics covered while regional opportunities and proposed projects were also discussed prior to the end of the visioning session.

he Federal Screw Property was part of the main discussion of economic development as it remains a main focus for the city for this upcoming year and they discussed the status of the property as well as talked about what the city is willing or able to do to address the vacant downtown property.

“The challenge of that property is the deed restriction that prohibits any kind of residential development,” said City Manager John Hanifan on Feb. 13. The property, privately owned, remains for sale as the city continues to try and work towards getting the deed restriction removed so a rezoning of the property could take place.

Environmental liability continues to be a challenge with the two acre property as well.

A Master Plan update was given during the visioning session. The plan lays out a vision for the city moving forward for the next 20 years but more importantly identifies land use for the benefit of the community and how to develop or redevelop areas in the city.

The plan’s underlying purpose is to guide the intensity and arrangement of land uses for the benefit of the community overall; identify areas that should remain generally the same and provide a guide for areas that are likely to change through new development or redevelopment. 

With updates in the plan finalized in January of this year, a finished plan will be sent to the planning commission. Once that plan is adopted, revisions and updates will be made via zoning ordinance.

When discussing the parks and recreation plan two major projects identified in the current parks plan were a community center, which has been discussed as a need for years, and the acquisition of more land for more parks.

Main street/M-52 resurfacing is in the plans and includes curb ramps and sidewalks from Old 12 to Sibley road. That project is set to take place June/July 2019.

The other main project construction wise was a resurfacing of Old 12 around the same time as the main street/M-52 resurfacing. The feasibility of a roundabout for traffic congestion mitigation at Old 12, specifically Freer and Old 12, was discussed.

Council member Cheri Albertson asked if there was room for a roundabout there, to which Hanifan answered it was under discussion with nothing set in stone.

A construction update tab will once again be on the city website to provides updates on the various projects as they take place this summer.

When discussing regional opportunities, the focus was on the community mental health millage passed last November and the possible need for a work session to decide what to do with the allocated funds that the city will receive.

Last year the city formed a housing research advisory commission, another topic discussed under regional opportunities and touched on the need for a complete inventory of housing that the city can provide.

At the end of the session the council also went over their goals from 2018-19 as well as their established goals for 2019-20. Those goals included maintaining financial sustainability, ensuring good stewardship of municipal infrastructure, community engagement and enhancement, the encouragement of innovation and excellence in customer service, promoting a safe community, developing and maintaining a first-rate work force, and the continuing evaluation of goals and objectives.

Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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