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Chelsea City Council to revisit sale of public parking spaces

Chelsea logoWhen the Chelsea City Council unanimously approved a $110,000 bid for the old police station on Sept. 24, the option they chose included three public parking spaces in the lot behind the building.

This option was one of three presented to the City Council by Willem A.S. Van Reesema and Joseph E. Ziolkowski, who plan to convert the building into a business and creative incubator space called Invention-Studios.

Since that vote, there’s been a lot of chatter around town from residents and business owners who questioned the wisdom of the city selling public parking spaces to a private developer as part of the building sale.

Council Member Rod Anderson asked the City Council to add the topic of “parking in the downtown” to the agenda for a discussion item and it was added.

During public comment prior to the parking space discussion, Ziolkowski said he understood “that parking was a sensitive issue” and he was “amenable to other options.”

In addition, Jim Myles, who is a candidate for City Council and a former DDA member, addressed the City Council for a second time on this topic. He again expressed his disappointment about the dwindling numbers of parking spaces downtown where he owns a business.  He told the City Council that he’d been inaccurate in the number of spaces that had already been lost when he spoke at a previous meeting; that the total number was 22 spaces if these three were included.

In the developer’s offer to the city, they offered the City Council three options, one of which was a $110,000 purchase price that included three parking spaces, another was a $50,000 offer that did not include any parking spaces.

The building was appraised at $108,000 several years ago.

Anderson asked the City Council revisit the sale of parking spaces, reiterating that this was unprecedented, and could be an issue for future sales. He asked the City Council to consider looking at an alternative option for the police station sale.

Several of his fellow council members weighed in on the issue as well. Council Member Frank Hammer asked how the city would handle snow removal in a parking lot where there were three private spaces. Did the city just leave those spaces unplowed?

Council Member Cheri Albertson said she “wasn’t comfortable with relinquishing three spaces” at the time of the vote, and was glad that City Council “will be rethinking this.”

Council Member Marcia White Parker said “that building is in very, very questionable shape and to put it back on the tax rolls (is important); they have 30 days to do due diligence.” She, too, said that she was “Not happy about giving away or selling parking spaces downtown.”

The buyers are in their due diligence period and the city has not yet closed on the property.

It’s expected that the City Council will hold another discussion on the topic at its next meeting on Monday, Nov. 4, the day before the City Council election.

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2 thoughts on “Chelsea City Council to revisit sale of public parking spaces”

  1. The time for this discussion was PRIOR to accepting the offer… didn’t anyone ever teach our council members how contracts work?

  2. I am pleased that the City Council is reconsidering the sale of public parking spaces with the building. I have heard the DDA lament many times how few spaces are available in which customers are able to park. Public means public–not private.

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