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Editorial: Bonding bill means city savings

City of Worthington leaders have been glad to see continuing demolition work at the former Campbell Soup Co. property.

And, they're no doubt elated at a recent development in St. Paul.

Included in the State of Minnesota's $717 million bonding bill -- the amount was revised by Gov. Tim Pawlenty from the Legislature's $925 million -- is $800,000 in grant money "to remediate contaminated soil and redevelop the former Campbell Soup facility in Worthington," according to District 22B Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake. The funding represents a big win for the city, as Worthington Mayor Alan Oberloh explained Monday afternoon.

Under prior legislation, the City of Worthington would have had to provide matching funds for money contributed by the state. Up to $400,000 would have been given, so long as the city contributed the same amount. Now, however, rather than covering half of an $800,000 maximum, Minnesota is funding that full total. "It's a $400,000 swing," Oberloh said.

As the Campbell's property continues to take on a new look -- with a terrific view of Lake Okabena beginning to emerge, Oberloh noted -- there's growing confidence that the site will prove to be ideal for not just a new city fire hall (which already is planned there), but potential other uses. Considering the old plant's condition and appearance for years, one has to think that the only direction to go from here is way up.