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Chelsea DDA receives updates on Rockwell, Federal Screw Works properties

The Chelsea Downtown Development Authority (DDA) board learned on Jan. 16 that the developer that was working on a brownfield redevelopment plan for apartments in the Rockwell Building, “is no longer pursuing this option.”

In November, the DDA unanimously approved an interlocal agreement to use local Tax Increment Revenues for the Rockwell Building brownfield redevelopment project on 0.33 acres at 301 North East St.

City Manager John Hanifan said the city was informed of the decision after business hours on Wednesday night.

Other developers have expressed interest in the site and there is a meeting scheduled with a different developer to discuss opportunities in Chelsea, Hanifan said.

Plus, there are a number of incentives still available for this property despite this initial set-back.

Plans for the Federal Screw Works property continue to move forward and Community Development Director Julia Upfall said the city met with the development team that is working on the project, which is still in the due diligence phase.

She told the DDA board that they have all the previous drawings, continue to work on the legal stipulations on the property, and “it looks like it’s moving in a positive direction.”

In addition, DDA members also spent some time working on the strategic plan for the downtown. They discussed their interest in hearing from the city’s Sustainability Committee, which is expected next month, so it can consider including some of its recommendations into the planning document.

DDA members mentioned adding recharging stations for electric vehicles in the downtown, something that’s shown to provide a positive incentive for bringing people into downtown areas.

A possible bike garage was mentioned – to accommodate the increasing number of folks who are riding their bikes into the downtown.

Members also discussed adding recycling bins downtown, in addition to garbage receptacles – perhaps with a pilot program during special events that bring a lot of people into Chelsea.

There was further discussion about updating the wayfaring signs throughout the city, and choosing a new color scheme that’s easily read and visible. The signs themselves, Hanifan said, are in good shape, and they can be taken down “re-skinned” with the new color palette and put back up.

Also mentioned were ways to enhance and direct people to the alley cut throughs in the downtown from parking areas.

The DDA also welcomed its newest member, Tammy Lehman, to the board.

Monica Monsma, executive director of the Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce, updated the DDA with upcoming events that include:

Feb. 7: indoor curling at Arctic Coliseum

Feb. 8: Chocolate Extravaganza throughout Chelsea beginning at 10 a.m.

Feb. 27: Chelsea Chamber of Commerce annual meeting where the large and small business leadership awards are celebrated from 6-8 p.m. at the Village Conference Center at the Comfort Inn

March 11: a ribbon cutting for Toe-DL Wellness, 107.5 N. Main St. from 5-7 p.m.

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