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Randy Lee surprised with small business leadership award following Chelsea DDA meeting

Randy Lee owner of RK Studios was surprised by the Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce as the 2018 Small Business Leadership award winner Thursday morning.

Following Thursday’s Chelsea Downtown Development Authority meeting, Randy Lee of RK Studios turned off the video camera and was packing up when he was surprised by members of the Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce as the 2018 Small Business Leadership award winner.

But before that, board members held a short meeting on Jan. 17 continuing discussions about putting the final touches on the Palmer Commons.

City Manager John Hanifan said there were still a few elements on the final punch list to be completed that include a drainage issue in the northwest corner sidewalk and it remains to be seen if the hydroseeding of the green areas will grow.

“If it doesn’t, it will need to be reseeded,” he said.

In addition, the DDA board will discuss how best to spend the remaining bond funds, which must be used for Palmer Commons.

Among the options are including amenities such as benches, trash cans and perhaps sporting equipment and/or using some of the funds to pay down the bond.

The board is expected to discuss the options during 2019-2020 budget discussions, which will begin in the next two months. There is a list of about a dozen items that were removed from the original architect’s design to reduce project costs and those will be provided to the board for reconsideration.

The city will be planting trees when the weather breaks.

Already, Chelsea Area Festivals and Events and the Saturday Chelsea Farmers Market are expected to request use of the space from the Chelsea City Council.

“The good news is, the vision has become a reality,” Hanifan said.  

A grand opening of Palmer Commons is planned for the spring.

Board Member Bill O’Reilly asked if an activated walking signal could be placed on M-52, but Hanifan said that the city has made this request previously, and it was denied by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), which has the final say over all decisions that affect M-52.  

Hanifan also mentioned that the MDOT is still planning a road resurfacing project on M-52 from Old US-12 to Sibley Road this summer/fall.

Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Monica Monsma announced that BBQ 52 and owner Phil Tolliver had been chosen as the 2018 Large Business Leadership award winner and that the small business award winner would be announced soon.

And that it did with Lee being “ambushed” following the meeting with the Small Business Leadership award. He was nominated by Marcia White.

In addition, Monsma reminded board members that Curling Fest was Feb. 8-10 and that organizers were hoping for “a sunny cold day.”

She said the first chamber business breakfast of the year would take place on Jan. 24 from 7:30-9 a.m. at the Village Conference Center and that business owners from Stockbridge were also expected to be in attendance so the event would provide a wide range of networking opportunities for attendees.

Jennifer Fairfield announced that the 11th annual Chocolate Extravaganza would take place on Feb. 9 throughout Chelsea.

“This is one of my favorite events of the year,” added Board Chairman Tim Merkel, referring to Chocolate Extravaganza.

Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce Board President Paul Schissler and Large Business Leadership winner Phil Tolliver of BBQ 52 and Randy Lee of RK Studios.
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