Weather Forecast


Nobles County wants city, ISD 518 to commit financially to multi-use facility

A conceptual drawing of WELL. (Special to The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — Nobles County commissioners on Tuesday authorized Administrator Tom Johnson to plan a joint meeting of the county board, the Worthington City Council and District 518 Board of Education to get a commitment for how much, if any money, each entity is willing to commit to a proposed WELL (Welcome, Education, Library, Livability) facility.

The building is proposed to include a new county library, the school district’s community education department and a welcome center designed to welcome and assimilate newcomers to Worthington and Nobles County.

The county has already made a request for $26 million in state bonding for the project. But, after Johnson met with Rep. Dean Urdahl and Sen. David Senjem — who serve on the committee for capital improvement bonding — he was told the community will need to come up with at least a 50 percent match. That would equate to $13 million, plus an estimated $4 million for soil remediation, fixtures, furnishings and other things the bonding funds can’t be used for.

“The $26 million is still in (the request),” Johnson said, adding that the state can bond for a maximum of $825 million and has received $2.5 billion in requests.

Johnson’s request for a commitment from the county board was to ensure he should be spending more time on the project.

“It’s going to take a couple more trips up there at least to make sure the project at least has a chance for funding,” Johnson said.

Thus far, neither the city nor the school district has made a legislative appeal for funds.

“You’re the only one going up there to push this,” said Commissioner Gene Metz. “Are we at a point where we need to have a sit-down with the city and the school? I’m not sure I want to be the landlord in this. If we don’t keep going, it will die.”

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

(507) 376-7330