A city for families

Chelsea’s focus remains on making the city attractive to families as it continues its rapid growth

by Lauren Hartsell Dowdle, content director
photos courtesy of the City of Chelsea

With the motto, “It’s all about family,” the city of Chelsea attracts both residents and visitors as it continues to grow. After traveling down Double Oak Mountain, people are greeted with sights, businesses, and events for all ages.

Originally known as the community of Melrose, the Chelsea area was settled in the mid-1800s. The name was changed in the early 1900s after the railroad was established because there was another Melrose on its route.

ChelseaFest and the Big Kaboom bring bands, food, activities, and families together for a Fourth of July celebration every year.

When Chelsea was incorporated in 1996, there were less than 1,000 residents. Now, Chelsea Mayor Tony Picklesimer says they are expecting the latest Census to show there are more than 15,000 residents that call the city home.

The city doesn’t only have a motto that everything revolves around families, but it also puts those words into action by building attractions they’re sure to enjoy.

Behind the Chelsea Community Center, located at 11101 County Road 47, are the new playground and splashpad at Melrose Park — a fitting name. They are also in Phase 2 of construction with the athletic complex on Highway 11.

One of the biggest projects coming up will be the realignment where County Roads 47 and 39 meet in front of city hall, which has an estimated completion of Oct. 31.

The city also hosts a variety of events throughout the year that people won’t want to miss. The Fire at the Foothills BBQ and dessert cook-off, which was held in April, included live music, a children’s play area, and, of course, plenty of BBQ and chili to sample.

“There were 25 cook teams in the BBQ cook-off and a few thousand people came through. It was very successful,” Picklesimer says. “It was just a friendly place to get out and visit with your neighbors and make new friends. It had such a family-friendly atmosphere.”

The city has another large event coming up next month. ChelseaFest and the Big Kaboom is the city’s annual Fourth of July celebration and will be held Saturday, July 3. There will be food trucks, vendors, three bands — including a local act — bike parade for children, and, of course, a large firework show to cap it all off.

“We’re anticipating this to be the biggest Big Kaboom ever,” Picklesimer says. “People are ready to get out and get back to some sort of normalcy.”

The first band will take the stage at 5 p.m., and fireworks will begin at 9 p.m. The event will be held across from Winn Dixie at 100 Chelsea Corners Way.

Road construction is underway in front of Chelsea City Hall to realign County Roads 47 and 39. The intersection will improve traffic flow and possibly form the central artery of future development around city hall.

After the Fourth of July celebration, the next city event will be their Christmas parade, which is held the third Saturday of December. The parade begins at Chelsea Middle School and ends at Winn Dixie.

Beyond popular happenings, there are also new places beginning to open up around town. Like most cities across the country, there weren’t many new shops or stores opening during the pandemic. However, now that things are starting to improve, so has the amount of commercial construction in the city.

They currently have five new businesses in the works — Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, AutoZone, RaceTrac, and a Mexican restaurant — and continue to receive interest from other companies who are interested in relocating to or opening in Chelsea.

“It’s a great place to live. Chelsea seems to be on top of its game,” he says. “There are lots of things to do and be a part of in the community.”

Picklesimer attributes the city’s growth and family atmosphere to several factors including their school system, public library, active parks and recreation department, playground, splash pad, sports parks, and beautiful community center with sports activities and meeting spaces.

“When you take all of those things, you’ll see it’s just our quality of life that draws families to Chelsea,” he says. “We’re a family-oriented city.”

The average age of residents has remained in the 30s as the city grows. Picklesimer says they plan to build more than 600 houses in the next five years. They also recently opened a third fire station off of Highway 51 behind the Chelsea Park subdivision.

“We’re trying to grow our infrastructure to take care of everything a population explosion causes,” he says. “The government’s primary responsibility is to keep residents safe.”

Whether families are looking for somewhere to visit or live, they are sure to find a welcoming and growing city if they turn to Chelsea.

“For someone who hasn’t been to one of our events or spent a day touring the city in the past few years,” Picklesimer says, “they need to see all of the things our city has to offer.”

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