Weather Forecast


Community center project moves ahead

WORTHINGTON -- Worthington City Council members authorized the city staff to solicit bids for the construction of the long-planned community center during their regular city council meeting Monday.

The project is comprised of two phases, demolition/environmental remediation and construction.

Phase I is scheduled for completion by April 30; construction bids will be advertised by April 6 with a deadline of April 27.

Upon Alderman Lyle Ten Haken's request, project team representative Jorge Lopez explained several changes to the construction plan were made in efforts to reduce cost.

Those changes include a less expensive lighting option, a flat ceiling and redesign of the roof.

Lopez said the latter two changes will reduce the amount of material needed for purchase, as well as labor cost.

"The lights cost about $100 a piece, but now we're looking more at $75 a piece," Lopez said.

After the first phase, the city will be operating within a budget of about $750,000 for the construction.

Alderman Scott Nelson asked if construction of the elevator could be made as an add-alternate instead of part of the base bid of the project.

"If we make the elevator and the basement as add-alternates, we can scale the project back a couple of hundred thousand," Nelson said. "It's difficult economic times. We don't need to spend the whole $750,000."

Lopez clarified construction of an elevator would be around $75,000. He added if the decision to construct an elevator was made after the completion of the project, the city would incur a higher expenditure.

"The basement was a space they (older residents) were looking forward to," said Bobbi Korthals, a community member representing seniors. "There are several who have a hard time walking who would need the elevator."

Korthals and Chuck Moore, who was also in attendance Monday, agreed although the location was not highly favored by seniors, they were comfortable with the facility being a "community center." The facility will be located on the grounds of the former Worthington Area YMCA property on 11th Street, between Second and Third avenues.

"The more people who can use it, regardless of age, the better it would be," Moore said.

Ten Haken made the motion to approve solicitation of bids for the construction of the facility with a second from Wood.

In an unrelated matter, council members approved a redistricting plan for the city. Upon the completion of the 2010 Census, state statute requires cities to review election boundaries and redraw them if necessary.

"The purpose of redistricting is to assure equal representations at all levels as practically as possible," said Brad Chapulis, the city's director of community/economic development.

The city's increased population made it impossible for Nobles County to establish five election districts with equal representation for the county commissioners.

Chapulis explained according to state statute, the city needed to redraw precinct boundaries to accommodate the county's redistricting efforts.

The city's plan maintains the two wards -- Ward 1 on the east side of the city and Ward 2 on the west -- separated by Humiston Avenue and Fifth Avenue.

Prior to the city's redistricting plan, Ward 1 extended to South Crailsheim Drive. With the revision, Ward 1 will end at Knollwood Drive. According to the 2010 ward and precinct population, the revised boundaries will accommodate 6,296 residents in Ward 1 and 6,468 residents in Ward 2.

In other business, the council members:

* Approved a fiscal agent agreement with Worthington Independent School District 518. ISD 518 was recently awarded a grant from Blandin Foundation for the purchase of telecommunication equipment. Blandin Foundation agreed to award the grant on the condition that the city of Worthington serves as the fiscal agent.

The foundation decided instead of going through the process of obtaining federal approval for ISD 518 as a new recipient, it would award the funds to existing grantees. The city of Worthington is currently a grantee.

As the fiscal agent, the city would be responsible for the administration of the school district's grant.

Daily Globe Reporter Ana Anthony can be reached at