The Mission of Preservation Chelsea

It is our mission to preserve Chelsea as a village rich with history and charm, reflected by historic buildings, surrounding farmlands, and as found in our beautiful and vibrant village center. We aim to work through education, offering to ourselves and the community the history of Chelsea as well as the issues shaping our future. We intend actively to preserve historic landmarks and to have a voice in all issues that affect any possible de-centralization of our village. It is our intention to pursue this mission with full involvement and input from merchants and citizens of Chelsea and to act in ways that make sense for the preservation of Chelsea's charm and historic integrity while supporting a vibrant and successful downtown.

Federal Screw Works

Federal Screw Works
This property has been under threat of total demolition since 2008--there are historically signficant and architecturally interesting sections that should be preserved!

Jackson Street Panorama

Jackson Street Panorama
The DDA voted at the meeting on 9.20.12 to demolish the Daniels Addition Car Showroom despite the letter from the State Historic Preservation Office. (please read below)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Public Comment City Council 9.28.10

City Council Meeting, Public Participation, September 28, 2010

My name is Jane Creswell. I live at 131 E. Middle Street.
I am a fourth generation resident of Chelsea. My great-grandfather was a blacksmith and was one of the founders of what is now St. Paul’s church. My grandfather was a pharmacist, photographer, engraver, and businessman who was very active in the village government and the school board. Both my parents were born and raised here and I came back a few years after graduating from college to live here. My husband chose to live here—and that wasn’t easy—he’s from Texas and they don’t often leave Texas for good……….Bottom line—I love Chelsea and I‘ve seen it go through many changes over the years. When I was young, Chelsea was a farming community and also a very active industrial community. During those times the downtown was made up of businesses that supported the people who worked in the businesses and the vehicles in town were mostly pickup trucks, not BMW’s. It went through a frightening time as the farms and the industries began to disappear and change. We survived by going with the changes. We lost our corner drug store, in favor of a coffee shop. We lost small businesses when chains began to develop south of town. We started to see new businesses such as gift shops and art galleries. We’ve become a downtown that caters to the casual visitor who wants to get a bite to eat and stroll the historic downtown, perhaps see a play. This is a good thing because tourism is big and historic tourism is bigger.
Ed McMahon stated that tourism is the biggest industry in the world in his Sept. 15 speech. Michelle has already told you about Ed McMahon so I won’t describe him further. If you haven’t had a chance to see the presentation, it is airing on Channel 18 and there is a DVD that will be available for viewing. The presentation was amazing.
There was much that applied to Chelsea as it moves forward. The title of his talk was “The Dollars and SENSE of Protecting Community Character”. One of the questions he asked was “What makes your hometown different than other places? Historic preservation physically connects us to a place. It identifies us as who we are.” He also said “If every place was just like the other place, then there would be no reason to go anywhere”. He said parking is the biggest myth. Buildings are good neighbors— not parking. “Tourists won’t go to a town that lost it’s soul.”
Why am I telling you this? Over the last year I have been working with a talented group of volunteers who have been trying to find a way to save the buildings in the Longworth complex. At first, I just didn’t want to see 100 year-old buildings knocked down. With what our group has learned I now feel we would be losing far more than the buildings. We have learned that the Livery portion of these buildings—by it’s existence and placement next to the first hotel (which is now the Farmer’s Supply) and the depot –is unique, not just to Chelsea but in the state and maybe in the country. That makes Chelsea unique. Tourists will come to visit and see these buildings. It makes the “Jackson Street Corridor” an amazing focal point for tourism. To tear down the livery and replace it with a parking lot wouldn’t make economic sense in the long run. We have a spectacular asset in these buildings that we didn’t realize we had. McMahon stated that “How much something costs is NOT the most important question. The most important question is what should we do?” Historic buildings are a scarce resource and we should cherish and protect them. McMahon suggests that any building that was built before the World War should not be torn down.
Our group submitted an RFP to the DDA with an “out of the box” proposal that would allow these buildings to be saved without any more money being spent on them by the city. It was rejected and the demolition has been scheduled. We are here to ask that you utilize your authority to stop the demolition, ask that work be stopped on the due care plan for the demolition and allow time for you to research what an asset we have and determine how best to proceed. We are here tonight and can answer questions. We have a great deal of information we would be happy to share. McMahon stated that working together creates the most successful communities. Our desire is to work together to preserve our history and retain our uniqueness so we can move forward to the future. Our ancestors left us their legacy in their buildings and their history. It’s up to us as caretakers to make sure it isn’t lost or thrown away. It makes economic sense. It’s more sustainable. It’s a win/win situation.
Thank you.

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