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Council receives senior center program updates

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington City Council were given updates on the city's aquatic center and senior center programing during the city council meeting Tuesday.

Andy Johnson, executive director for the Worthington Area YMCA, presented the various swim programs conducted at the facility, adding pool-only pass was not a popular option among pool users.

"It's a whole cost perspective," Johnson said. "It comes down to 'I have buy a pool pass to use just the pool, or I could spend a little more money and have the entire facility.'"

Mayor Alan Oberloh asked if there was a reason to maintain the pool-only pass, to which Johnson replied the pass would function as an additional option to facility users.

In response to Alderman Scott Nelson's question about the size sufficiency of the outdoor pool, Johnson stressed the importance of the city council's initial goal when constructing the aquatic center.

"When you compare your facility to some of the others in Pipestone or Redwood Falls, we're not nearly the size of their outdoor pools -- we're way smaller," Johnson said. "It was the council's goal to provide year-round swimming."

On the senior center end, part-time senior center coordinator, Julia Seykora, presented the current programs available and plans for future ones.

She is hoping to increase members for the walking club which meets three times a week at the YMCA, and added the development plans for a pickle ball league is underway.

The senior center was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation.

Seykora said as of now, $22,000 of the grant has been used for programming.

Seykora has collaborated with Roxanne Hayenga, Minnesota West's community development and customized training director, to develop new programs, including the upcoming introductions to Tai-Chi, How to Skype and a basic self-defense class.

She also spoke about a recently-formed focus group to address concerns among the senior population and development of new programs.

"The committee discusses the interests and developing new programs, as well as collaborating with community resources," she said about 10-member group.

Alderman Mike Kuhle asked if she could foresee the current 95-person membership at the center growing if provided a "bigger and better" facility.

"Membership is down and from what I've heard, it is because they've been tossed around so many times, so to speak," Seykora said. "If it will go up 100 percent, I don't know."

In other news, city council members:

* Accepted the city's 2011 audit report.

* Conducted a second reading for the amendment to Chapter 114: cable television regulations. The amendment will modify the language for which gross revenues are calculated, and what constitutes as a subscriber.

* Conducted a second reading for an ordinance that will grant cable television franchise renewal to Mediacom Minnesota LLC.

* Conducted a second reading for the rezoning of a property owned by Classic Convenience, Inc. located at 1314 Burlington Avenue. If approved, the property would be rezoned from R-3 low density preservation residential to B-3 general business.

* Authorized execution of contract for a range lease agreement between the city and Minnesota West Community and Technical College. The range will be used for the firearms portion of the college law enforcement program.

* Adopted an athletic facilities reservation lease agreement. In previous years, city staff received inquiries to reserve the city's athletic facilities but there was no user agreement as recommended by the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) loss representative. The lease agreement adopted will be written to reflect the facility which the organization would be requesting to use. The current user fee of $50 per day per facility will be maintained for 2012.

* Approved the agreement with Worthington Girls Softball Association (WSA) to use Centennial softball fields for games.

* Authorized execution of deeds to convey former TH-59 right-of-way to abutting owners: Bruce and Tara Kraft, P.H. Real Estate Company, RG and RJ Properties, and McDonalds USA, LLC.

* Conducted first reading of an ordinance to vacate part of platted public utility easements in Prairie Expo first addition for the event center and motel project.

* Awarded a contract for the audio/visual system in the biotechnology advancement center at the low-base bid of $128,611.

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