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Soccer fields focus of study

WORTHINGTON -- The soccer fields along Sherwood Street could be heading toward significant improvements, pending the result of preliminary plan preparations authorized Monday night by the Worthington City Council.

The council unanimously approved the acceptance of a proposal from Short Elliot Hendrickson (SEH), Worthington, to develop plans for improvements at Buss Field. The city will pay $7,500 for the plan preparations, while Swift & Co. will also pay $7,500.

City Engineer Dwayne Haffield explained that when the soccer fields were first located at the Buss Field site, the focus was not to satisfy the long-term needs of a successful soccer program. The fields did not include the grading necessary for proper -- or any -- drainage, or the placement of suitable soils and turf.

"Development of a designed soccer complex was deferred pending an evaluation of the success of soccer programs," Haffield said. "The continued and growing level of participation in the soccer program is leading to a demand for soccer field improvements."

Initial estimates indicate costs of about $250,000 for development of three fields at the site. Preliminary plans from SEH are anticipated to refine those costs, fully examine project feasibility and allow any future work to be eligible for grant assistance.

Development of the plan will include obtaining a site survey, devising a grading plan and preparing a probable cost projection. With plans not yet begun and no grant money yet secured, Public Works Director Jim Laffrenzen said Monday that no construction at Buss Field will take place this year.

In additional business Monday, the council:

l Approved preliminary assessment plans for proposed improvements to Castlewood Drive as well as a second project encompassing Cecilee Street, Donavon Drive, Sterling Avenue and Sutherland Drive. Action on both projects was taken by council following respective public hearings.

The estimated cost of the Castlewood Drive improvements -- which include sanitary sewer, water main extension and street extension work -- is $225,650. Assessments are projected to cover a little more than 77 percent of that total.

The estimated project costs for improvements at Cecilee Street are $21,000, while costs for both Donovan Drive and Sterling Avenue/Sutherland Drive work are each projected at $53,000.

l Approved -- in the capacity of the Economic Development Authority -- a low bid from $365,089 from Johnson Builders & Realtors, Worthington, for construction of a spec building within the bioscience industrial park. Eight other firms bid on the project.

The city and Nobles County are proceeding with the spec building project with a shared, 50-50 ownership of the planned facility. The city's Economic Development Authority is bearing its costs while the county works toward passing legislation enabling it to participate, with reimbursement for the county's half promised at a later date.

Ryan McGaughey

I first joined the Daily Globe in April 2001 as sports editor. I later became the news editor in November 2002, and the managing editor in August 2006. I'm originally from New York State, and am married with two children.

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