City's hospital proceeds reinvested
WORTHINGTON -- Money from the 2008 sale of Worthington Regional Hospital to Sanford Health has already been re-invested in the community, stated a letter enclosed with January's Worthington Public Utility bills.
"(Worthington City) Council members were talking with individuals in the community and feeling... we need to explain in more detail... how we've allocated the funds to better the community," said Craig Clark, Worthington's city administrator.
The city received $21 million from the sale of the hospital, and another $6 million in payments that were due to the hospital from accounts receivable.
The $21 million was placed in a legacy fund focusing on long-term projects serving as assets to the community, and the $6 million was put toward more immediate improvements, Clark said. That way, money from the hospital -- a long-term community asset -- would go into new long-term assets.
"We're taking the steps to get where we need to go for long-term development and the prosperity of the city," Clark said.
The city's operating budget is approximately $6 million, but funds from the hospital sale have not been used to augment the city's general spending.
"We've been very purposeful in segregating hospital dollars from our general obligations. We didn't just sell the hospital to sell the hospital, (but to) reinvest those proceeds in the community," Clark said. "This gives us the distinct ability to do things we wouldn't normally be able to do."
* Senior Center: $1 million will go toward creating a senior center for the community.
* Fire Hall: $4.1 million has been budgeted for building a new fire hall on the location of the old Campbell's Soup property in downtown Worthington.
* City Aquatic Center: $4.5 million was invested in the city's aquatic center, in partnership with the Worthington Area YMCA-DeGroot Family Center.
* Commercial/industrial park loan payoff: $1,010,010 will repay funds borrowed from Worthington Public Utilities from the city's purchase of land north of Interstate 90, which will be used as commercial and industrial space.
* North U.S. 59 intersection improvements: $1.4 million from the hospital sale's proceeds, along with $3.3 million in grant money, will pay for wider roads, acceleration and deceleration lanes and safety improvements for the area around the planned industrial park north of Interstate 90.
* Approximately $9 million of the fund remains.
* Business training and testing facility: $220,000 of the city's money, in addition to $778,000 from federal grant money, will pay for a business training and testing facility where universities and colleges will collaborate with businesses to assist research and development and help businesses move operations to a commercial scale.
The facility will be added onto the existing business incubator in the bioscience park, Clark said.
* Worthington Police Department technology and radio improvements: $948,000 will be spent on upgrading law enforcement technology, with $750,000 of it supporting implementation of the ARMER (Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Response) system.
The rest will help modernize police equipment.
* Worthington Rediscovered: $300,000 will be used to rehabilitate commercial and residential structures in the city.
* Industrial park design: $305,000 will pay for laying out and designing the infrastructure for the new commercial/industrial park.
* Airport hangar: $534,518 will pay for part of a new hangar at the city's airport, with the rest of the cost being paid for by federal dollars through the state.
* Historic Dayton House: $80,000 of city money went toward a parking lot across from the Dayton House, which will also be used by the Southwest Mental Health Unity House.
* Airport fuel system, spray pad and storage facility: $174,000 will pay for a new fueling system at the city airport, which will allow the city to purchase fuel in larger quantities and lead to cost savings over time. The fuel will also be filtered better, delivered more quickly and available 24 hours a day.
An agricultural spray pad and storage facility will also be put into place.
* Parks and Recreation: $250,000 will be put toward enhancing city parks, including improving boat landings, adding a floating fishing pier to Freedom Veterans Memorial Park and extending the existing city trail to Chautauqua Park. Millard Walker Park will get bathrooms and Centennial Park will get basketball and volleyball courts.
The city may also build an outdoor arboretum on the location of the old city pool, Clark said.
* Website redesign: $8,800 was spent on a complete overhaul of Worthington's website, located at www.ci.worthington.mn.us.
* Tennis courts: $235,000 is the city's portion of a joint project for improving existing tennis courts and adding eight new courts.
* Approximately $2.9 million of the fund remains.