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Chelsea DDA to share updated strategic plan with community

Photo by Lisa Carolin. The entrance to Palmer Commons. The new wayfaring sign colors will match the color scheme of this sign.

The Chelsea Downtown Development Authority board will soon be sharing its updated strategic plan with city residents and businesses.

The board has been working to update the plan for more than a year and will be looking for public input in the next two months.

The plan highlights the priorities for a number of downtown projects. These include operations and maintenance priorities such as the city’s parking lots, lighting and signage. Also included are plans for additional benches and trash cans as well as general sprucing up activities.

The plan also looks at arts and culture and possible ways to draw attention to the downtown alleyways to make them more appealing for pedestrians walking from city parking lots to the downtown shops and restaurants. The plan also includes communications and marketing plans to promote the downtown.

City Manager John Hanifan provided an update on several ongoing projects that include painting of the downtown light poles and the new wayfaring signs in the downtown. Last meeting, the board chose a new color scheme to match the sign above Palmer Commons that’s black with copper penny gold lettering with white outlines. The signs will be updated in phases with a project completion date by mid-fall.

Board members asked if the current outdoor seating allowed in the downtown and the space outside of Thompson’s Pizzeria due to an ease of regulations because of COVID-12 could become something permanent. Board members said that that they have received numerous positive compliments about them and they’d like to see them continue and perhaps be expanded while still being mindful of city parking.

The city is currently reviewing its zoning ordinance and it’s hoped that the process for and allowing of these outdoor spaces could be updated in the new city regulations. Hanifan said that there are modular systems that could be purchased that are easily set up and stored when not in use and this is something that perhaps could be considered.

DDA board members will hear a brief presentation from the city’s audit firm at the board’s October meeting to hear an overview of its finances.

The next meeting of the DDA is planned for Sept. 17 at 7:30 a.m. via Zoom.

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