WORTHINGTON — Following the recommendation of the Worthington Planning Commission, Worthington City Council members unanimously approved Monday night a conditional use permit (CUP) for a new freezer warehouse at Worthington’s JBS facility.

Project Ice is currently planned at 186,083 square feet, with an option to add an 84,683-square-foot warehouse addition in the future for the meatpacking business using the property. Construction is already set to begin this week, JBS engineer Jeff Buysman said Monday night.

According to company officials, the new freezer warehouse could create approximately 70 new jobs ranging from $17.05 to $21.30 per hour, plus benefits. The expansion could store up to 25 million pounds of frozen product and 2.5 million pounds of fresh product, increasing the plant’s overall production capacity.

One condition of the CUP is that 74 parking stalls be provided within one year of receiving a building permit, along with a parking plan showing where an additional 59 parking spaces would go if employment intensifies.

Later in the meeting, Buysman presented the city with a $1 million check from JBS, a gift announced earlier this month. The gift, part of the company’s Hometown Strong initiative, will go toward enhancement of the city’s fieldhouse and recreation center. The company plans to donate $2.6 million to help Worthington respond to needs resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and invest in the community’s future.

Also on Monday, the council unanimously approved a $1,147,500 bid from DK Buildings LLC for work on the 10th Street Plaza. Included are reconstruction of a paved area, a new shelter building, year-round public restrooms, green space, a 10-foot trail and an area at the terminus of 10th Street dedicated for an art exhibit.

Bids for the project were also received from Solonek Construction ($1,213,193), Tri-State General Contracting ($1,261,801) and McCuen Construction Inc. ($1,398,255). The DK Buildings bid is $454,299.82 under the engineer’s estimate.

Utilities work for the project is set to wrap up this fall, while construction completion is anticipated by May 2021.

In other business, the council approved:

  • A change order for Tri-State General Contracting representing an increase of $24,516.80 to include modifications to the aggregate base located under a portion of the Darling Drive road extension.

  • A professional services contract with Short Elliott Hendrickson (SEH) in an amount not to exceed $28,001 to explore potential future layouts of Flower Lane. The contract includes reviewing preliminary design information and developing a feasibility report to address removing the existing portion of Flower Lane (that was part of the prior state turnback of U.S. 59/Minnesota. The intent is to realign Flower Lane to service the future development of the South Shore Acres LLC property, and review the preliminary storm water drainage for both the proposed roadway realignment and future development.

  • The appointment of Mayor Mike Kuhle, council members Chad Cummings, Amy Ernst, Mike Harmon, Larry Janssen and Alan Oberloh, and Worthington Public Utilities Water & Light Commission member Randy Thompson to the city’s reconfigured Economic Development Authority. Each of the mayoral and council appointments will run concurrent with their elected roles, and Thompson’s term will be for six years.The EDA board will next meet at 4 p.m. Aug. 25.

  • A resolution supporting a $15,000 grant application by First Children’s Finance to the Southwest Initiative Foundation to conduct a full child care study for the city of Worthington. The city would own the housing study once it is completed, and may use it with providers and developers exploring additional child care projects in the city. In addition to reviewing data and demographic information, First Children’s Finance will also conduct interviews and gather community input during the process.