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Retention pond gets support

WORTHINGTON -- Another $31,000 of hospital sale proceeds was spent Monday night after Worthington City Council members approved a contribution to the regional storm water retention pond project under construction on the Worthington campus of Minnesota West Community and Technical College.

Nobles County had already partnered with the college in a cost-savings measure in which the county will excavate the material for the pond and use it for curb, gutter and bike trail construction along Nobles County State Aid Highway 35 and Crailsheim Drive, on Worthington's west side.

The pond, which will be located on the south side of the Minnesota West campus, will be regional in nature, collecting storm water runoff from points to the north and west of campus.

The college had committed $100,000 to the pond, and secured funding from the Olson Trust ($25,000) and Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District ($10,000) because of the benefits the pond will provide to slow down and filter water before it reaches Lake Okabena. With a $25,000 contribution from the city, an amount based on the percent of the watershed area that is within city limits, the college was still $36,701 short of the total project cost of $196,701.

"This is a great opportunity to collaborate with Minnesota West," said Worthington City Administrator Craig Clark. "We'd never given a (financial) commitment."

"(The college is) kicking into the project by using their land ... it's right on the lake so it meets our clean water goals, and their grounds truly serve as a community park asset," said Councilman Mike Woll. "I want to be a participant."

Mayor Alan Oberloh suggested the city could pick up half of the increased engineering costs for the project "as a good-will gesture," bringing the city's total contribution to $31,000. That suggestion was ultimately given as a motion by Ron Wood and approved unanimously by the council.

In other action, the council:

* Tabled bid awards for portions of the Event Center construction project until 7 a.m. Friday, allowing staff to collect more information on the bids that were received.

* Established a sale price on three lots in the Bio-Science Park to accommodate the future construction of Bioverse, a company that will be moving into temporary space in the Biotechnology Advancement Center later this year. Bioverse initially had an option on two lots, but decided it needed more space for truck access. The lots will be sold for $35,000 per acre. This is below the break-even price of $50,000 per acre, but the land Bioverse is interested in is restricted due to the airport approach. Brad Chapulis, Worthington Economic Development Director, said quotes will be sought for having appraisals done on the remaining properties in the park.

* Approved, on recommendation of the Planning Commission, a special use permit for the operation of a child care facility at 713 and 715 10th Street. The building will be used by the Southwest Minnesota Opportunity Council for child socialization through the home-based care program. The goal is to eventually operate a center-based program in the building.

* Approved temporary, on-sale beer licenses to the Worthington Fire Department to operate a beer garden from 1 to 6 p.m., Aug. 25, in conjunction with the open house for the new fire hall; to King Turkey Day, Inc. for the Turkey Day Mixer from 5 to 9 p.m. Sept. 10, at Pioneer Village, and for the KTD Beer Garden from 4 to 11 p.m. Sept. 14, from 1 to 11:59 p.m. Sept. 15 and from 5 to 11:59 p.m. Sept. 15 on the Nobles County Fairgrounds in Worthington; and to the VFW Post/Elks Lodge 2287 for a beer garden from 2 to 11 p.m. Sept. 15 on Second Avenue between the two service clubs

* Approved a temporary on-sale liquor license to the Worthington Country Club from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, for the Labor Day Golf Tournament.

* Received an update from Sanford Worthington Medical Center CEO Mike Hammer on the progress being made to bring more services and physicians to Worthington. Included in the update was a report on the extensive remodeling projects taking place in the hospital building.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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