Council Appropriates Funding for Park Projects

The City Council took care of business quickly Monday night, approving several financial matters that had previously come before the council and addressing some traffic issues in the city.

The council voted 8-0 to appropriate money for park projects at 212 Congress Ave. and 88 Clinton St. Councilors Judith Garcia, Tanairi Garcia, and Melinda Vega were absent from Monday night’s meeting.

The proposed park at 212 Congress Ave. received a $500,000 state PARC grant that is reimbursable, so City Manager Ned Keefe asked the council to appropriate $850,000 for the project, of which the $500,000 will be reimbursed. The council previously appropriated $350,000 through the Capital Improvement Program for the project.

The council approved appropriating leftover funds from the Voke Park renovation project for use for the 88 Clinton St. project.

In other business, District 6 Councilor Giovanni Recupero filed a motion asking that the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund Board look into dedicating all affordable housing opportunities to Chelsea residents.

“We keep building affordable housing, but it’s always (less and less) Chelsea people who live there,” said Recupero. “If you build affordable housing, build it for people who are here.”

Councilor-at-Large Brian Hatleberg said he also respects the idea of giving us much affordable housing as the city can to residents who already live in Chelsea, but he added that he is sensitive to federal fair housing laws that dictate how much affordable housing can be set aside for residents and non-residents of a community.

“I do not object (to the motion), but I also want to make it very clear that we do not violate fair housing law,” said Hatleberg.

District 8 Councilor Calvin Brown also agreed that it was a sensitive issue, but added that he would like to see the city work on some sort of process where current Chelsea residents get the highest priority for affordable units.

“We build so much affordable housing, but we have to make sure our residents get their fair share,” said Brown.

Recupero also introduced a motion asking that the public works commissioner remove a rubber mat obstructing the handicap ramp near the bus stop on Broadway at Everett Avenue. Councilors Enio Lopez and Todd Taylor both noted that there are handicap accessibility issues at that location as well as a number of others throughout the city that need to be addressed.

In another motion, Recupero asked that the public works department paint all the speed bumps in the city for greater visibility.

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