Chelsea Mayor Tony Picklesimer speaks at Coffee with the Mayor on April 12, 2017.
When Chelsea Mayor Tony Picklesimer and the 2016-2020 Chelsea City Council took office on Nov. 8, 2016, they had four basic principles in mind, Picklesimer said during the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce’s Coffee with the Mayor on April 12. Those four responsibilities were to keep the people of Chelsea safe, to be good stewards of the city’s funds, to take care of city resources and to grow Chelsea’s commercial base and infrastructure, Picklesimer told the crowd of more than 100.
“Those four basic principles are what guide us. They’re what lead us,” Picklesimer said. “They’re the things that help keep us going in the right direction.”
Since November, the city has seen new projects get underway and changes made, Picklesimer said, and most of those changes were the product of a spirit of cooperation.
In February, the Chelsea City Council approved two resolutions to improve public safety — hiring a new sheriff’s deputy and making changes to the 2016-17 budget for Chelsea Fire & Rescue.
“Sheriff [John] Samaniego and I sat down and worked out a hybrid contract for a new deputy, and I’ve seen [in] the monthly reporters, our accidents have gone down. Highway 280 in Chelsea is a safer place than it was just 60 days ago,” Picklesimer said.
Amending the fire department’s budget also allowed the city to bring on two more full-time firefighters and promote one firefighter to lieutenant.
Other changes made in relation to safety include installing video surveillance at the Chelsea Community Center and at City Hall and making changes to intersections around the city.
In January, ALDOT installed new traffic lights at the intersection of County Road 47 and U.S. 280. The lights changed the traffic signals from a left turn yield on green to left turn on green arrow only.
“We have not had an accident at 280 and 47 since Jan. 10. Isn’t that cool,” Picklesimer said.
The city is also in the process of working with ALDOT to rework the intersection in front of Chelsea Park. In regard to road projects in the city, Picklesimer said he plans to be relentless with ALDOT.
“I’m proud to say that John Cooper, the state director for ALDOT, he actually told me, ‘You’re not required to come up here every month.’ I thought, hey, this guy’s noticing now,” Picklesimer said.
There are also a few upcoming moves in the city. In the next few days, Picklesimer said the city will close on the old Renasant Bank building. The council approved in March the purchase of the building to be used as the future home of the Chelsea Public Library.
When the library moves from the Crane House near City Hall to its new home on U.S. 280, the Chelsea Historical Museum will move from it’s room in city hall into the Crane House. Once there, it will be run by the newly-formed Chelsea Historical Society.
Picklesimer also noted several upcoming events in the city, including Fire at the Foothills on April 22, a city-wide cleanup day on May 6, a new farmers market on May 18 in front of city hall, and the Big Kaboom and Chelsea City Fest on July 1. The city fest will expand upon the city’s usual fireworks show, bringing in food trucks, vendors, live music and other attractions.
“It promises to be a big event,” Picklesimer said.