Council approves 27th Street projectWORTHINGTON — An improvement plan for a portion of 27th Street west of U.S. 59 was approved Monday night by the Worthington City Council following a public hearing and a discussion of about 30 minutes.
By: Ryan McGaughey, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — An improvement plan for a portion of 27th Street west of U.S. 59 was approved Monday night by the Worthington City Council following a public hearing and a discussion of about 30 minutes.
City Engineer Dwayne Haffield initially presented an improvement project that entailed grading, base construction, bituminous surfacing, extension of municipal wastewater collection and extension of municipal water distribution from 27th Street to 2,570 feet west on 27th Street. The estimated cost of the work was $1,224,050.
However, Haffield also presented scaled-down versions of the project, including one that would maintain the water and sewer work for the full 2,570 feet while reducing pavement to “immediate needs” of 1,300 feet. Bedford Technology is in the process of acquiring acreage along the road and plans to build a facility there.
Following discussion, Alderman Rod Wood — who had earlier indicated his hesitancy to support the full plan — moved to approve the smaller project, which carries an estimated total cost of $935,349.57. Bedford assessments would provide 34.5 percent of that total, or $250,453.31, while the City of Worthington and the city’s Economic Development Authority would carry nearly all the remaining burden.
Even though the project moved forward on a unanimous vote, Wood still wasn’t completely satisfied.
“I request that we have a master plan yesterday,” he said, noting he felt one was important in determining how to best utilize the 27th Street land, which the city intends to market for economic development purposes.
Haffield added that he expects a master plan to be in the city’s hands shortly.
In community/economic development matters, the council authorized execution of a Minnesota City Participation Program (MCCP) that allows the city to receive $179,198 in Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) funds.
The MHFA-administered program provides below market interest rate home mortgage loans to eligible low- to moderate-income first-time home buyers who purchase a home within Worthington’s corporate limits. Loans are originated by a local MHFA-contracted lender and sold to MHFA.
Brad Chapulis, the city’s manager of planning and economic development, added that the city has received MCCP money in past years and has benefited from program money that has gone unused by other cities after a six-month timeframe. Money not used by other municipalities becomes available on a first-come, first-serve basis six months into the program, he said.
In another housing-related action, the council approved a request for assistance from Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership (SWMHP) that serves to illustrate the city’s support for a project SWMHP hopes to have funded through a MHFA grant.
SWMHP received a 30 percent reduction in building permit fees from the city. Its goal is to purchase, rehabilitate and sell three single family homes to qualified homebuyers. Chapulis reminded council members that SWMHP completed a similar project in Worthington in 2006, when it purchased a home on Sherwood Street, rehabilitated it and sold it for the appraised value. The assessed valuation went from $30,900 in 2006 to $56,200 in 2008, Chapulis said.
Alderman Lyle Ten Haken expressed his support for the program, but asked why SWMHP gets building permit breaks when other entities or contractors don’t. Chapulis said factors include the homes being for low- to moderate-income buyers and the fact that “John Q. Developer” typically doesn’t buy older homes for redevelopment.
Council members discussed the possibility for establishing a similar program for contractors in the future.