Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Vision for the Future of Chelsea

Last night, I attended a Downtown Development & Visioning Session organized by the Chelsea DDA (Downtown Development Authority). The purpose of the meeting was to gather qualitative information from residents and business owners, that will be used as a resource for planning the future of Chelsea.

The session was led by DDA president Mike Jackson, who owns Vogels & Fosters, and city manager John Hanifan. The process involved small break out sessions, where groups of 6-8 people brainstormed topics such as (pardon my paraphrasing):
  • "What aspects of Chelsea are you most proud of?"
  • "What trends -- both good and bad -- are affecting Chelsea's future?"
  • "What would you like to see in Chelsea's future, 20 years from now?"
The small groups then voted for their top picks, and then those top picks were voted on by all the participants. One aspect of Chelsea that most everyone agreed on is that we are proud of our city's small town charm and historic character. Now, how to manage growth, traffic, transportation, utilities and the rest of the details is where the questions remain.

Being both a resident and business owner, it was very interesting to learn and discuss the ideas and complaints. I can't speak for anyone else, but I enjoyed the process and have continued to think about the topics long after the meeting ended.

I'll be curious about the rest of the process and see how the city and the DDA will use this information moving forward.
To learn more, contact city manager Mike Hanifan at the Chelsea City Offices, (734) 475-1771.

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