FULL STORY: Council postpones vote on movie theater to explore private investment
WORTHINGTON — The Worthington City Council on Monday postponed a vote to fund concept designs on a proposed city-built, privately operated movie theater to be located across from Fareway.
The motion came after City Administrator Steve Robinson cited potential involvement from a local investment group.
“Late last week, after the agenda was published, we were alerted to interest in other potential investment parties along with the city, and based on this potential investment, I’m recommending that council postpone action on the [proposal] while we give the other investment partners an opportunity to further vet their interest,” Robinson said.
The council did move forward with two other projects. Council members approved a professional services agreement with Delano pool designer USAquatics to study potential expansion and improvement options to the city’s outdoor swimming pool facility at the Worthington Area YMCA.
Robinson said the YMCA and Minnesota West Community and Technical College will be involved in the process.
An expansion to the pool has been identified as a top priority and is currently one of the projects on the council’s preliminary local-option sales tax project list.
The council also authorized Brunton Architects & Engineering to prepare architectural and engineering documents for a new Beach Nook building in Centennial Park.
The new Beach Nook — a project led by the council’s Community Growth Subcommittee — will feature larger bathrooms, a shower and vast storage space that is intended to store kayaks, paddleboards, life jackets and bicycles.
The walking path will be redesigned to give more room in front of the bathhouse. The design brings the bathhouse off of the nearby parking lot, erasing a common concern from walkers and runners. The project is estimated to cost $500,000.WELL Project
While the WELL (Welcome, Education, Library, Livability) is currently being discussed by the Minnesota House and Senate capital investment committees, council members again called on members of the Nobles County Board of Commissioners to express its support for the collaborative project.
The board has approved $2 million toward the WELL, but councilman Alan Oberloh said two commissioners are against the project.
“Let’s have them take the lead like they should. They haven’t done it. They haven’t done it for 10 years,” Oberloh said.
“I know it’s an election year, but I think it's time for the commissioners that are in office right now to either support it or put it to bed.”
District 22B Rep. Rod Hamilton has submitted a bonding request for $15 million toward the $30 million project, though the legislature is facing $4 billion in bonding requests and is only expected to bond for around $1 billion in projects at the most.
“If they come up with $15 million, I think it’s going to be pretty hard for this community to turn that down,” said Kuhle, who recently visited the Capitol to push for the project.
“It’s going to be really hard to come up with $15 million when you don't have the commissioners supporting it at St. Paul,” Oberloh said. “They need to go up there and push the thing, not us.”
In other news, the council:
- Awarded Duininck Inc. a $400,245 contract to extend sewer and water to the District 518 ALC and gymnastics site. Council also approved engineering services with Bolton & Menk at an estimated fee of $46,000.
- Approved a final plat for the proposed Head Start facility on Pleasant Avenue.
- Accepted a grant from the Minnesota Department of Transportation that will pay for 70 percent of a replacement batwing mower for the Worthington Municipal Airport.
- Set a public meeting for review of a stormwater pollution prevention plan for 7 p.m. June 11.