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City Council approves athletic facilities master plan

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WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington City Council unanimously approved Monday the Athletic Facilities Master Plan and Needs Assessment developed by consultant Hoisington Koegler Group Inc.

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The plan outlines improvements to Worthington's current athletic facilities and was created through recommendations of the Athletics Facilities Plan Team, which includes the city of Worthington, Independent School District 518, Minnesota West Community and Technical College and the Worthington Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Prior to voting, the council discussed the Athletic Facilities Master Plan and Needs Assessment as presented by Worthington City Administrator Craig Clark.

The plan, which outlines recommendations regarding athletic facilities for the city and the other entities involved, does not obligate the participating groups to take any of the steps listed.

"I think it's important to note that this is just a road map," Councilman Mike Kuhle said.

Kuhle also recommended an agreement be established between organizations that jointly maintain athletic grounds within the city to avoid any future confusion.

"One problem there has been, in the past, the city owns some athletic fields, the school owns some fields," Kuhle said. "There has been some unwritten agreement about who takes care of what."

Hockey facilities were a late addition to the plan, and council member Diane Graber said she would like to see the ideas for hockey expanded upon in the future.

"In the plan, which I thought was well done, I did notice there was limitation on the hockey -- because it was a late addition, I assume -- and I would hope there would be more extensive work on that and I would just suggest that," she said.

"There are spots in here where there is a recommendation for during further research," Councilman Ron Wood added.

The council also discussed the need for the organizations involved to work together through joint powers agreements.

"I really agree that we need a working group," Wood said. "If you look at other communities, whether it be Sioux Falls that is bigger or Marshall that is only slightly bigger, they have all had working groups that have gone to all the different entities in the communities to form a joint powers agreement. I think it's especially important between the school district and the city."

Cooperation between the organizations that use the athletics facilities has always been one of the motivating factors behind the Athletic Facilities Master Plan and Needs Assessment, Clark explained.

"Consolidation of resources has always been an overarching goal," he said.

Through the facilities plan, the council and other groups involved hope to maximize their resources and reduce redundant athletic facilities within the community.

"With today's resources, it doesn't make sense to have multiples of things," Wood said, highlighting the cooperation between Minnesota West Community and Technical College and the Worthington Area YMCA as an example of a successful joint effort in the community.

"It's important that we make these partnerships because I think, at times, we've operated as segregated entities in the past," he added.

Other items during the council meeting included approval of a request for quotes for stump grinding, and the annual review of and time for public comment on the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan.

Daily Globe Reporter Alyson Buschena may be reached at 376-7322.

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Alyson Buschena
Alyson joined the Daily Globe newsroom staff after spending a year in Latin America. A native of Fulda and graduate of the University of Northwestern, she has a bachelor's degree in English with a dual concentration in Literature and Writing and a minor in Spanish. At the Daily Globe, Alyson covers the crime beat as well as Pipestone and Murray counties, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and cooking. More of Alyson's writing can be found at http://throughthelookingglass.areavoices.com.
(507) 376-7322
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