Council approves funds for CPES gym, additional funds for CHS band

The Chelsea City Council unanimously approved spending $4.2 million for construction of a new gym at Chelsea Park Elementary during the Jan. 17 meeting. 

The council authorized the mayor to enter into an agreement with the Shelby County Board of Education for construction of eight additional classrooms and a gymnasium. The county will cover the costs of the classrooms and funds for the gymnasium will come from the city’s education fund.

“Currently CPES does not have a gymnasium,” Mayor Tony Picklesimer said. “They have an activity room. The SCBOE put out a bid to have eight classrooms and a gym built and the total for that bid was $8.2 million.” 

The city also paid for the Forest Oaks Elementary gym when it was built a decade ago.

Picklesimer said he is working with Superintendent Lewis Brooks on a payment plan, and has suggested the city pay one million each October from 2023-2025 and pay the remaining balance in October 2026. However, a specific payment arrangement has not been reached.

The project has an estimated completion date of 18 months. 

The council also approved an additional $35,000 Nick Grant for the Chelsea High School band to purchase uniforms. The council had previously agreed to pay $70,000 to cover 70% of the cost, but the cost of the uniforms turned out to be more than expected at $140,000 instead $100,000. 

The last purchase was 10 years ago for new jackets only, Lawley said, and pants have been purchased in batches over the years, some of which are now 25 years old.

The band is currently having a donation campaign to raise their 30% of the funds (around $42,000) and has already raised almost $11,000 during the first week. Lawley said he hopes to place the order later this month or in early February so the uniforms will be in for marching season this fall. 

Councilman Casey Morris said that the band is a crucial part of Friday night and that they are doing their part by raising money to cover 30% of the total cost. 

During the mayor’s report, Picklesimer recognized Amber Polk, a Chelsea resident and newly elected Shelby County Board of Education member. 

“Whenever I see one of our citizens offer themselves for service in an elected position, it means a lot to me,” he said. “This is a volunteer position that controls the future of our young people in Chelsea and Shelby County. I want to publicly say thank you for your service.”

Polk said it’s an honor to serve the community and she looks forward to the city and SCBOE working together. 

Picklesimer also recognized the 7A State Championship Chelsea High School girls cross country team, who was in attendance, along with their coaches. 

“We are so proud of all of you–you showed us you’re ready to be 7A,” Picklesimer said. 

The team also presented the mayor with a commemorative state championship trophy. 

Other items approved by the council:

  • Authorization for the mayor to enter in agreement with the Shelby County commission/Shelby County Highway Department for the installation and maintenance of traffic control signals at County Road 36 and County Road 11.
  • An annexation request for property at 411 Signal Valley Trail, Chelsea consisting of 7.04 acres
  • Approval to declare property as a surplus and authorize its sale. The former Bernie’s building next to Fire Station 31 will become the new location of HDC Huntstore and Gunsmithing
  • Payment of the city’s bills

The Chelsea Community Center is accepting donations for victims of the Selma tornadoes. Items can be dropped off through Friday, Jan. 20. 

Important dates

  • Jan. 23: Planning Commission at 6 p.m.
  • Jan 24: Chelsea High School master plan public meeting at 6 p.m. 
  • Feb. 7 and 21: City Council meetings at 6 p.m.
  • Feb. 9: ALDOT open house meeting from 4-6 p.m. 
  • Feb. 25: Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast at Chelsea Community Center from 8 a.m. to noon.

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