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Posted on Tue, Feb 8, 2011 : 4:12 p.m.

Potential property sales among Chelsea City Council visioning session discussions

By Lisa Allmendinger

The Chelsea City Council discussed possibly selling some of the city's property, including a warehouse building and the current police station, at an annual goal setting and visioning session Monday night at The Depot.

The city owns about 215 acres. That's a lot, said City Manager John Hanifan. “We should at least look at what we have and think about divesting ourselves of some of it.”

He said he was surprised by the total, which includes parks and parking lots and city water and wastewater treatment facilities, when he was first hired.


Chelsea City Manager John Hanifan listens during the visioning session Monday night.

Lisa Allmendinger | Ann

Sale candidates include a warehouse building the city owns on Buchanan Street, the current police building on Middle Street and portions of the city’s Department of Public Works property on North Street.

Council member Frank Hammer suggested the city sell both the current police station building as well as the Buchanan Street building.

A new one-story police building expected to cost $2 million to $2.5 million is planned for three city lots at the corner of South Main Street and East Summit, a few blocks from the current police headquarters and next to the Chelsea State Bank building.

A combined preliminary and final police station plan was tabled by the city’s Planning Commission last month and is expected to be discussed again on Feb. 15.

The warehouse building on Buchanan Street, formerly Bookcrafters, was purchased in 2001 for $999,000 through bond financing, and the city still owes about $700,000 on it.

This is a property that City Council members agreed they’d like to see go back on the tax rolls.

Also under consideration is the sale of a portion of the Public Works Department campus that includes a pole barn, several garages, a salt storage area and wooded areas.

“It’s a loose confederation,” Hanifan said, of the buildings with open space and a gravel connector route. There’s about 12 acres total, Hanifan said, on both sides of the creek.

City staff plans to do a complete inventory of its facilities and hold a work session to discuss the city’s options in the next few months.

“We need to have that discussion. Why do we have it and do we need it?” Hanifan said of long-range forecasting for the city and a facility master plan.

Selling property would reduce maintenance costs by “shrinking the city’s footprint,” Hanifan said. It would also bring in tax revenue by adding property back onto the city’s tax rolls.

Lisa Allmendinger is a reporter for She can be reached at For more Chelsea stories, visit our Chelsea page.