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Submitted Photo An exterior illustration of Worthington's planned event center and hotel project is shown. The Worthington City Council has authorized the expansion of the facility by 1,000 square feet.

Event center grows

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News Worthington,Minnesota 56187 http://www.dglobe.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/4/0711/15citycentera1.jpg?itok=AP8HYxgC
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Event center grows
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington City Council made several authorizations pertaining to the city's event center project during its regular meeting Monday evening.

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During their previous meeting, council members agreed to expand the facility by 1,000 square feet to accommodate additional seating of 72 individuals. At 7,000 square feet, the occupancy capacity will increase to 510 people as compared to the 438 people capacity from the previous plan. Council members approved the construction budget of $3,751,284 -- an increase of $162,284.

"The committee took a good look at it and felt we had a one-shot deal," Mayor Alan Oberloh said. "If we tried to do it later, we would never get it done."

The ballroom can be separated into two sections in order to accommodate approximately 220 people in each section.

"For theater-style seating, we can fit about 550 to 600 people," said Dave Clark, the project architect from WCL Associates.

The main entrance to the facility will be via the canopied area on the east (as shown in the sketch). Additional doors from the event center will lead out to a bridal park in between the facility and the hotel.

While the extent of the bridal park is dependent on bids, Clark added that a few of the features will include a landscaped area with site lighting, and patio space for photography purposes.

"We're also hoping to be able to seat about 100 people there -- to use it as a breakout space from the main event," he said.

The hotel portion of the project will be managed by Lexington Hotel Development Group of Greendale, Wis. Lexington representative Bob Campbell Jr. explained that the 75-room Comfort Suites hotel will showcase the lodging chain's latest prototype.

"We've removed some of the exterior finishing and detail and transferred some of the budget to the interior," he said.

Hotel guests will be able to enjoy amenities including an indoor pool, free high-speed Internet and a small convenience store.

Campbell said he expects the hotel to initially generate between 15 to 18 full-time and part-time jobs.

"Within the first year alone, we're scheduling about $400,000 alone in wages -- not including benefits," he said.

On Monday, city council members authorized the project team to proceed with preparation of construction documentation for the event center and bid site work for the project. Work scheduled will be separated into three contracts -- excavation, site utilities and paving.

Construction on the hotel should begin by July, followed by construction on the event center. Both facilities are expected to be fully operational by May 2013.

In other news, city council members:

* Conducted a third and final reading of an ordinance for the establishment of a Public Arts Commission. The commission's responsibility will include promoting opportunities for public art and identifying funding sources for art projects. Council members also adopted the policies and procedures for the commission.

* Conducted a first reading for the amendment to Chapter 114 (cable television regulations). The amendment will modify the language for which gross revenues are calculated, and what constitutes a subscriber.

* Conducted a first reading for an ordinance that will grant a cable television franchise renewal to Mediacom Minnesota LLC.

* Set June 11 as a public hearing date for amendments to the city charter. The first amendment will allow the city council to authorize expenditures for one or more city officials to serve as the city's representatives to destinations that have historical partnerships or historical significance. The second amendment will change the term "Alderman" or "Aldermen" to "Council Member" or "Council Members."

* Approved a request from the Airport Advisory Board to purchase a Jet "A" fuel supply truck to service larger corporate aircrafts. Pilots of larger aircrafts often refuse to restart aircrafts to move to fuel pumps because it counts to the number of hours required for the engine to be overhauled. Additionally, aircraft owners prefer not to have the aircrafts towed due to concern for liability of damage.

* Approved plans and specifications for the 2012 bituminous pavement improvements. The first schedule of work will encompass overlays on Fox Farm Road, Milton Avenue, Omaha Avenue, Sherwood Street and the west side of Strait Avenue (south of Miller Street.) Schedules two through five include reconstruction of Sherwood, Franklin and Trevor streets, as well as work in two alleys.

* Approved a conditional use permit for Worthington Christian Reformed Church. The permit will provide for the construction of an electric message sign on the property of the church at 1100 First Ave. S.W.

* Approved a special use permit for American Reformed Church. The permit will allow the construction of a storage building on the church property at 1720 N. Burlington Ave.

* Conducted a first reading for the rezoning of a property owned by Classic Convenience Inc. at 1214 Burlington Ave. If approved, the property would be rezoned from R-3 low density preservation residential to B-3 general business.

Daily Globe Reporter Ana Anthony may be reached at 376-7321.

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