By EMILY SPARACINO | Staff Writer
CHELSEA – The Chelsea High School football booster organization is leading a project to improve the football team’s locker room as a new season approaches.
Several Chelsea Quarterback Club board members attended the June 21 Chelsea City Council meeting to present their renovation plans and ask if the city would provide some financial support for the project.
“I know it’s a big ask, but we feel like it’s also a quick win that we can get for these boys,” Chelsea Quarterback Club President Mike Brooks said. “It’s probably going to be a multi-season project just with lead times, but we feel with the support of the city, we can get this done. We are working with the Shelby County Board of Education to also do what they can. ”
Brooks said the locker room project was among many needs that he and Todd Cassity, Chelsea’s new head football coach, identified for the program when they met recently.
“It doesn’t sound like much, but the locker room is really where these boys come together as a team and spend a lot of time in there,” Brooks said. “It just doesn’t have the feel, the space needed, the equipment needed in order to represent a truly 7A program.”
Cassity said he recognized the need for improvements as soon as he saw the locker room for the first time after being hired as the Hornets’ head coach.
“Our weight room is top notch,” Cassity said. “It is one of the best weight rooms I’ve seen in high school football. Our other facilities are not. Our locker room would probably be on par with a 3A or 4A locker room, and we are now a 7A football team. We’re housing over 100 kids in that locker room that probably should be about a 40- or 50-capacity locker room. ”
Brooks said Quarterback Club Vice President Haley Handley has been working on the design plans, which currently include new metal lockers, new flooring, a remodeled bathroom and wall wraps.
“One of the reasons this is so important is we keep losing players to other schools, and one of the reasons is their facilities,” Brooks said. “If a kid has a dream to play football and they go and tour different facilities, they’re going to be gravitating towards those that are nicer. We’ve lost a lot of kids over the years who have moved out of Chelsea to go live in other communities, and we want to try to do everything we can to keep those kids and those families here in this community, and improving these facilities is one of the ways to do that. ”
Mayor Tony Picklesimer said the council would consider the Quarterback Club’s request.
In other business, the council approved a resolution to authorize the Economic Benefit Incentive Package for AU Hospitality Group LLC, the company set to build a hotel in Chelsea.
“We are very excited to have a new La Quinta hotel being scheduled to break ground in Chelsea,” Picklesimer said. “We have been working towards this for several years. It is a beautiful facility that they are going to build. ”
Picklesimer said this will be AU Hospitality Group’s 10th hotel.
The council also:
• Recognized Chelsea Fire and Rescue Lt. Hunter Knight’s recent promotion and dedication to the fire service.
• Voted to support the Back-to-School Tax Free Weekend on July 15-17.
• Voted to authorize the Alabama Department of Revenue to administer sales, consumer and sellers use taxes in Chelsea.
• Accepted a quote to not exceed $ 15,000 for Chelsea Middle School football field improvements.
• Appointed an election manager, absentee election manager and poll workers for Chelsea’s special election on Tuesday, July 12.
• Declared property as surplus and authorized its sale. Picklesimer said a lot in the Foothills Business Park has been sold, and a new business will be locating to Chelsea.