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Council talks Complete Streets in busy meeting

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News Worthington,Minnesota 56187 http://www.dglobe.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/4/0711/worthingtoncityhall16.jpg?itok=6eRARAHL
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Council talks Complete Streets in busy meeting
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

WORTHINGTON -- During the regular meeting Monday night, the Worthington City Council approved a resolution to establish a Complete Streets policy.

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Complete Streets is a concerted effort to look at road designs from a broader perspective than just a car-centered focus.

"It's a cooperative effort, headed by the YMCA for looking at different alternatives for how to improve our health as a community generically," Worthington City Administrator Craig Clark said. "One of the areas they've kind of targeted and identified is Complete Streets, which is an opportunity to look at a less car-centric focused view of our streets and roads and how we can incorporate better pedestrian trails and those sorts of things. There is a transit component to it, there's also for folks with disabilities and how to incorporate that and better accommodate that."

The Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) approached the Worthington Area YMCA to use the funds to help create a more active community.

"I think what's most important is the Complete Streets project has come out of our local communities involvement with the SHIP organization and the SHIP funding that has been available to us," YMCA Executive Director Andy Johnson said. "As the group looked to try to narrow down its focus of working toward a healthier community, the Complete Streets was one area we identified as being a primary focus.

"We need to make sure we have the areas for people to be mobile in our community in a safe manner. Certainly, there are a lot of ways to make that happen and working with the city and county to make our streets more adaptable to get that done."

The committee will create and present a policy at a later date.

"We are just in the very beginning stages of making a commitment to Complete Streets and therefore developing a policy that the municipality would then follow as it goes on," Johnson said. "As streets become constructed, those things would be kept in mind. As streets are renovated or we need to develop more trails, they would also be included in the concept to making more complete streets and more availability to the community."

Carol Biren, Health and Human Services Planner/SHIP Coordinator, made a presentation to the council, explaining the benefits of living a healthier lifestyle.

"It's all going to evolve," said Dwayne Haffield, Director of Engineering. "Right now, its saying we want to make a change and start looking wide at this and be a community that can get around by other ways than just cars."

In other news, the council discussed the sale of the old fire station to Minnesota West Community and Technical College. The sale price of $200,000 was mutually agreeable between the two entities.

"It's a good use for that property," council member Scott Nelson said.

Council member Mike Woll asked the council about the use of the building, specifically the use for cosmetology.

"That was a mistake and it has been remedied," Mayor Alan Oberloh said.

The building is planned to be used for auto and small engine repair, according to documents provided at the meeting.

The budget for the Utility Department strategic financial plan was approved by the council. Worthington Public Utilities Manager Scott Hain said there won't be scheduled increase in the water rates; however, customers will see an increase to offset the cost of water being purchased.

The city is taking 350 gallons per minute, 24 hours a day -- or 500,000 gallons per day -- from the Lincoln-Pipestone Rural Water to offset the drought.

A bill will be received and Hain anticipated the average residential customer will be charged approximately $3 per month.

"It's been worse, but it's been a whole lot better," Hain said of the water levels, which drop four to six incher per week.

Hain also presented a contract for electric service agreement with the Western Area Power Administration through 2050.

The council approved a rate increase for Olson Campground. The electric sites will increase by $1, while the tent sites will increase by $.50. The weekly rate is unchanged, while the monthly rate will increase $25. The campground has its largest revenue in five years, making $61,495.

In other business, the council authorized the process of listing Chautauqua Park on the National Register of Historical Places. The Nobles County Historical Society received a $6,500 grant to hire a historian to research the park in an attempt to declare the entire park eligible for the register. If the park is declared eligible, the Minnesota Historical Society will need to review the findings before it is listed on the register. If the park is listed, it then becomes eligible for legacy dollars.

A conditional use permit was approved for District 518 for the construction of an electric message sign on its property. In a letter from Superintendent John Landgaard, the message board would be on the north side of the high school, next to the entrance door for the lobby. The hope is to have the sign installed at some point this month.

Daily Globe Community Content

Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.

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