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