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City-wide cleanup date set by council

WORTHINGTON -- The date for the anticipated city-wide cleanup was set during Tuesday night's regular city council meeting.

The pick-up will be the week of June 17-21. Residents can begin placing items on the curb June 10.

"We have been getting umpteen calls," Director of Public Works Director Jim Eulberg said. "We're at a point with everything with the trees, I talked with Eric (Joens from Schapp Sanitation) and said let's pick a date that looks to be reasonable."

The one-week timeframe is similar to last year.

"They switched the type of vehicle they used for collection, they are using self-loaders and crush the stuff," Eulberg said, "Stuff went much faster. They said they were done by noon on Friday, it didn't take the full five days."

Eulberg also gave council an update on the debris clean up. He gave the council an estimate of $905,038.81 for work completed by Ceres Environmental.

However, the council agreed to move forward with more aggressive tree trimming. Based upon the $250,000 the state legislature passed to help with non-reimbursable expenses by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the council is hoping to trim more trees and grind stumps.

"We've talked with Ceres about doing some additional trimming," Eulberg said. "They have a couple tall lift trucks they can get up. We are limited to about 30 feet and theirs go up to about 70."

The cost for those trees is roughly $100 per tree, plus cost of debris removal, Eulberg said.

Another cost that will be incurred is the grinding of the stumps.

"I made a couple of calls to folks who had contacted me regarding if we are going to do stump grinding, they are folks that wanted to be included in the bidding process," Eulberg said. "Their estimates, for the mid-side trees, which are most of them is $75-100, which would include grinding, clean up and filling the hole with top soil."

The council decided to move forward with more trimming, but not to exceed $100,000 for trimming, monitoring and debris removal.

"It's ended up costing us a lot more than if we would have done it ourselves, and handed FEMA a bill. We probably could have saved 30 to 40 percent," Council member Mike Kuhle said. "This is getting ridiculous."

Ceres and True North, the monitoring company, will continue work. The plan is to get all the debris out of the right of way by the end of the week. The added trimming and clean up, plus cleaning out County Road 12 ditch should be completed during the first two or three weeks in June. The stump grinding will go through the bid process and will be addressed at a later council meeting.

"I think we have some nice trees in this city that look terrible because they are not shaped," Mayor Alan Oberloh said. "They are doing what they had to do for FEMA standards. Now it's time to go the extra mile and trim those trees so they have a chance of becoming of a nice looking tree again."

In other business, the council approved a limited liquor license for Worthington Okabena Windsurfers.

"I don't know that Worthington has ever granted a liquor license in a park," Oberloh said.

Ken Moser, who was speaking on behalf of the group, said they wanted to offer wine and daiquiri-type drinks this year.

"We wouldn't want to deal with liquor. It's the alternative to non-beer drinkers," Moser said.

According to Moser, these types of drinks have been popular in the past.

"It was reported to us from another function that the pricing was very attractive and very well received," he said.

The council accepted donations of two park benches, as well as trail signs and bicycle racks throughout the city.

Also, the council accepted a donation of a raised-bed garden at the Center for Active Living, which will be paid for by a Statewide Health Improvement Program grant.

Before the meeting, a public hearing was held for the Housing and Redevelopment Authority revenue bond project. The bonds are for a new 36-unit project.

"It is 36 units, 12 of those will be two bedroom and 24 will be three-bedroom units," explained Lisa Graphenteen, Chief Operating Officer at Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership. "The financing listed is not to exceed $3.8 million. The bonds will actually be a lesser amount. The bond council suggested we use the total development cost so the public was fully aware of the total cost of the project we were looking at."

She said the bonds will actually about $2.7 million for the project.

The development is on schedule to be completed this fall.

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