Chelsea’s longterm plan to bolster economic development will take a step forward Tuesday when the town of Chelsea and its Economic Development Committee invite residents to talk about their ideas for Chelsea’s future.

Organizers say they hope residents will be able to contribute ideas on how to put the town’s strategic economic development plan, released about a year ago, into action.

“This is the first meeting to get the plan implemented,” Jim Damicis said. “That requires getting residents and businesses more engaged to find the best way to improve the quality of life and set priorities.”

Damicis works for Camoin Associates, an economic and community development firm the town has hired to help put the economic development plan in place.

“We’ve been dealing with economic development for a few years,” Selectman Mike Pushard said. “I’m impatient. I want to help people with the property tax issue and get people excited about what can happen here. We’re a pass-through town, but we want people to stop here in Chelsea.”

Pushard said he sees economic development as crucial to stabilizing Chelsea’s mill rate.

Like many towns across the region, Chelsea’s board of selectmen keeps an eye on the school district budget as they craft their own spending plans, often cutting town projects to balance out expected increases from school budgets.

For the last two years, town elected officials have been working on an economic development plan, funded by part of the proceeds from a Tax Increment Financing District created in 2015 when two companies ran natural gas pipelines through part of the town. The goal has been to find a way to broaden the town’s tax base.

Damicis said the residents who attend will be asked to weigh in on what they value about Chelsea and what makes it unique. They will also be asked to consider what might have to change in town to make its economic development planning successful.

“We have to make sure this is stuff they can do with the capacity they have,” Damicis said.

Some things may be a simple as improving communication by posting information to the town’s Facebook page or sending out a regular newsletter.

“We had a meeting about a year ago at the school asking people what their ideas of what the town is and where it’s going and what they want to see in the future,” Pushard said. “The No. 1 thing they wanted was water run on Route 9.”

Chelsea’s neighbors on Route 9, Randolph to the south and Augusta to the north, are both served by water systems.

“There are some great sties on Route 9 that can be developed with very nice businesses that will attract hopefully more businesses,” Pushard said.

Damicis said Tuesday’s Future Forward Chelsea meeting is the first of several anticipated to gather input and ideas from town residents on economic development as well as community development.

“It’s important that people understand that town economies are part of large, complex systems,” Damicis said. “You are part of it, but you can’t control it.”

The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Chelsea School cafeteria at 566 Togus Road, next to the Town Office.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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