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Council agrees to proceed with CAL improvements

WORTHINGTON -- During its regular meeting Monday night, the Worthington City Council decided to make adjustments to the basement of the Center for Active Living (CAL).

After discussion at the last meeting with no action, the council decided to move forward with tectum panels, the installation of carpet and the construction of a half wall in the basement area.

The biggest issue the council wanted to address was the sound reverberation in the basement.

"We've all been down there and the sound is definitely a problem in the basement," council member Mike Kuhle said. "I think staff has properly addressed it with some experts and how to address this problem. I don't feel like I can really question it."

The council agreed to the tectum panels, which would be attached the walls. The plan is to install approximately 1,500 square feet of panels for a cost of $15,000.

"I like the tectum panels," council member Ron Wood said. "I think the other thing is we have to look at the utilization of the basement area. You'll have people playing billiards and then you'll have other activities going on. If you have a five-foot wall or a six-foot wall, it really allows that area to continue to have some use."

Wood said if there is a divider, there is a chance for multiple activities.

"It breaks that up, otherwise what we have is what I call a 'great hall' and only one activity going on at a time," Wood said. "That really underutilizes that particular facility. That would be my support of the panels and the wall."

The council approved the construction of a wall, which was primarily for aesthetic purposes and to allow the dividing of the basement. The quote for that was $6,917, but Mayor Alan Oberloh suggested a local contractor have the opportunity to build the project.

"Beyond this, if this doesn't do the job, I would like to see the seniors to do fundraisers or whatever," council member Scott Nelson said. "Don't come back to us for more, just say 'done is done.' Any additional improvements, whether they change the wall, or maybe they do some of those things on their own. I'd like to see the seniors buy into some of these things and actually build up the place themselves."

"Having said that, Scott, I would hope that anything that happens within the building still gets the blessing of the city," Oberloh responded.

Kuhle agreed with Nelson.

"I would also encourage them to look at alternative funding sources to do improvements to the senior center," said Kuhle, who made the motion to move forward with the whole project. "They have to take some ownership."

The meeting opened with a public hearing for the Small Cities Development Program funds.

The council approved to move forward with the application, which includes a $10,000 contribution from the city for administration expenses.

Directory of Community and Economic Development Brad Chapulis said the target area had 500 housing units and there are somewhere between 60 or 70 applications, meaning the target area may have to be redrawn to make the application stronger.

"We won't know what that final boundary will be until we are able to review those applications," Chapulis said.

Jennifer Prins, from the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, explained the city can apply for up to $600,000, which would allow for approximately 28 projects to be completed.

The scope of the target area may be smaller, but Chapulis said they won't forget about the rest of the neighborhoods.

When asked what kind of number the state was looking for, Chapulis said, "Showing there is going to be a great impact on the neighborhood. I don't know if there is a magic number, they just indicated it was marginal or weak.

"We are going to continue to go on," he continued. "When we're done with the target area that's finalized, we'll move on to the next one."

Daily Globe Community Content Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.