Weather Forecast


City council addresses event center concern

WORTHINGTON -- The project team for the event center presented an update of the upcoming event center project to Worthington City Council members.

Architectural service WCL Associates representative Dave Clark explained that at approximately 13,000 square feet, the facility will have a main ballroom with the capacity of 438 people if seated at circular tables or 600 people standing. In a detailed presentation, Clark showed council members the exterior and interior layout for the project.

The estimated cost for the facility is $3,588,845, but the design team is working to identify areas of the project that could be bid alternates to reduce the cost to the project budget of $3,500,000 or less.

Council members discussed community concern that the event center would not be large enough to accommodate certain events.

Alderman Lyle Ten Haken said after visiting with Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Darlene Macklin, he noted three annual events -- Pheasants Forever, Daily Globe Women's Expo, and the Hospice Banquet -- would not fit in the facility.

"There are is a certain amount of discussion in the community that says we have to build it big enough," he said. "But what's proposed here is almost identical to what was proposed in 2008. We're right on target with that....If we go to the extreme and look at something larger, we've got to recognize that the (half cent) sales tax is not going to provide us. We'll have to come up with an additional funding source to build it." "Is there a cost-benefit analysis that would warrant putting an additional $1 million of city money for one or two event?" Alderman Ron Wood questioned.

On the other end of the spectrum, Alderman Mike Kuhle said his opinion is to construct the facility as large of possible.

"We only have one shot at this," he said.

Clark explained the current design could easily accommodate 500 people in seated by adding another row of tables. The project cost would increase by $100,000 to $150,000, he said, adding that the parking and storage areas will not need to be expanded.

"That is a fairly reasonably approach but if you build for 600 people, the world changes completely," he said.

Mayor Alan Oberloh expressed his satisfaction in the 500 people capacity.

"I like the idea of the limited impact of the overall project going to 500 (people)," Alderman Mike Woll said. "That's a wonderful, happy medium."

In other business, council members:

* Approved a resolution for a public hearing for the establishment of TIF District 15 for the hotel/event center project. The tentative time and date for the public hearing is 7 p.m. during council meeting June 11, 2012.

* Approved a second 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.

The ordinance clarifies that the high school or college student is a non-voting member on the commission. The Public Arts Commission functions as an advisory board to the city council. City council members will make the final approval for any public art projects.

* Adopted the resolution adopting polling places for the 2012 primary election and general election.

First Ward polling places are: First Baptist Church, first, second and third precincts; American Reformed Church, fourth and fifth precincts.

Second Ward polling places are: Worthington Area YMCA, first precinct; Nobles County Public Works, second and third precincts; Solid Rock Assembly, fourth and fifth precincts.

* Conducted a public hearing for improvements of Franklin, Sherwood and Trevor Streets. Alleys that will have reconstruction improvements are the northeasterly 28th block and southwesterly 28th block. Council members passed the resolution ordering improvement and preparation of plans and specifications.

* Approved plans and specifications for the industrial wastewater treatment facility improvements. The budgeted amount of $200,000 includes engineering work and contingencies.

* Approved plans and specifications for the reconstruction of Collegeway. The project encompasses complete pavement removal and replacement with curb, and gutter replacement at defective sections. Access to Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Worthington Area YMCA and the major housing complexes with two driveways will be maintained while the reconstruction is being done. Total estimated project cost is $860,000. Council members authorized city staff to advertise for bids with a deadline of May 22, 2012.

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