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FULL STORY: Council rejects unexpectedly large Beach Nook bids

A rendering by Brunton Architects and Engineers depics Worthington's new beach nook at Centennial Park, slated to begin construction this fall. Unexpectedly large bids construction bids revealed Monday night have now delayed the project. (Special to The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — The city’s new Beach Nook project has run into a roadblock.

The Worthington City Council on Monday unanimously rejected three bids to construct a new beach house in Centennial Park, as each of them came in over double the architect’s estimate.  

The city had expected to spend around $500,000, but the lowest bid from Wilcon Construction came in at $1.125 million.

“It’s just not worth $1.1 million to do that project in the city of Worthington,” said council member Amy Ernst.

The goal was to begin work on the new facility — equipped with men’s and women’s restrooms, a year-round family restroom, indoor and outdoor showers, storage areas and a concession area — this fall with construction completed by mid-May.

City Administrator Steve Robinson said he had identified a few items, such as year-round heating in the entire building rather than just heating the bathrooms as the city planned, that drove up the cost. He also noted it is the busiest time of year for contractors in what was a very rainy season, leading to a lack of openings.

Council member Alan Oberloh pointed out that all three contractors had close bids — The Joseph Company’s bid was $1.14 million and Tri-State General Contracting was $1.18 million — meaning the architect’s estimate was off.

The city will explore ways to get the project's cost down in an attempt to get it done.

Tax levy

The council officially approved a not-to-exceed 2019 tax levy of $4,282,583, which represents a 7.99 percent increase over 2018.

The council will consider the final budget during a 7 p.m. meeting on Dec. 10, at which public input will be taken. The levy can be reduced but not increased before the final budget is passed.

Fishing club donation

The council accepted a $5,000 donation from the Southwest Minnesota Fishing Club toward the construction of a fish cleaning facility to be located near the trailer parking area in Sunset Park.

The club intends to donate $5,000 per year for five years, or quicker if possible, to pay for the small building.

Chad Cummings, speaking as treasurer of the club, said the facility would be useful for the growing number of fishing tournaments, but also for everyday fishermen and those who just want to dispose of old fish.

The hut would include a hose and stainless steel counter for cleaning. Fish would be deposited into the city sewer. Todd Wietzema, public works director, said the facility would simply be another stop on the list of locations that his employees maintain and clean.

The council also accepted a $600 donation from the Park Hop’s organizers to pay for new tables by the Centennial Park splash pad.

Rezoning

The council approved a change to the comprehensive plan for a section of land located between Sherwood Street and the railroad, shifting the land use from industrial to a community commercial zone, which allows for retail businesses such as banks, restaurants, gas stations and grocery stores.

In accordance with the change, the council voted to change every industrial-zoned parcel in the area to general commercial.

The city was motivated to change the area’s zoning after an asphalt plant was proposed in the neighborhood. Even a nuclear plant could have been allowed to go into the area prior to the zoning change.

The council also voted to rezone a city-owned plot of land located south of Merck and east of Shine Bros Corp. from an agricultural use to general business. A new Ethiopian Orthodox Church is expected to be built on the property.

In other news, the council:

  • Declared assessments and ordered for a hearing on proposed assessments for various properties, including the Six Fairway View property that is being developed. A hearing will be take place during the Oct. 8 council meeting on the proposed assessments.
  • Heard a presentation from Tammy Makram, Memorial Auditorium managing director. Makram said the recent show “Family Traditions: Country Music Heirs” drew 600 people, including 402 people from outside of Worthington.
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