Weather Forecast


Road work will begin on some local streets

WORTHINGTON -- The city of Worthington will move forward with reconstruction improvements of Marine Avenue, Roos Avenue, and Block 12 and Block 30 alleys; but will postpone improvements to Church Avenue until next year.

Some business owners with property abutting Church Avenue spoke against the timing of the improvements during a public hearing at Monday's regular city council meeting.

"We're going to have issues this year with parking," said Bob Bristow of Demuth Agency Inc. "My lot is going to be inaccessible to customers and we'll have Hy-Vee going in across the street. ... (We) have some concerns of whether the north half of Church needs to be replaced at all at this point."

"The timing could not be worse," added Randy Heeringa, the CEO of Worthington Monument Works. The men said they did not take issue with the project's $97,700 cost; about 23 percent of which would be assessed to property owners. They suggested the 'S' curve of the street be patched, something City Engineer Dwayne Haffield said could work as a temporary solution.

"We'll get one year out of it if we have a bad spring, because we haven't fixed the underlying problems," he said, saying the street could hold out another few years at best. He added he wasn't anticipating street access to be blocked for several weeks, saying the project would have a relatively short timeline.

Ultimately, Alderman Ron Wood made a motion to delay the street reconstruction, including accompanying storm sewer replacement and minor curb and gutter fixes, until next year.

Work on Marine Avenue, at a total resident cost of about $32 per foot; Roos Avenue, at about $9 a foot, Block 12 Alley at $87 per foot; and Block 30 Alley at an estimated rate of $57 per foot, will continue as scheduled; bids will be solicited and a final assessment hearing will likely occur in the fall.

In other business, the council on Monday:

- Agreed to keep flowers near downtown businesses in the budget, following a $3,250 donation from the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce.

- Heard from current Martin County Deputy Assessor Michael Sheplee, one of three who submitted a proposal in response to the city's request for bids from private assessing services. The council agreed it would continue working to define necessary services before selecting a private service, which could save about $15,000; or keeping the county's $104,700 assessing service in place.

- Approved the project plan, tax increment financing plan and housing plan for New Castle Townhomes TIF District No. 14.

- Discussed which financial incentives the council would consider offering potential developers of the local option sales tax funded events center. Agreed to explore creation of a tax increment district, applying for Recovery Zone Facility bonds, or private placement of lease revenue bonds.

- Authorized execution of a storm water master plan proposal by Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. and fund the work from the storm water utility budget.