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Bedford Industries aims to beautify Ludlow Park

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington City Council approved on Monday the first steps toward improvements to Ludlow Park. Bedford Industries has approached the city about making additions to the park, including a raised amphitheater with seating, new si...

WORTHINGTON - The Worthington City Council approved on Monday the first steps toward improvements to Ludlow Park.

 

Bedford Industries has approached the city about making additions to the park, including a raised amphitheater with seating, new signage, a new dock, a 24-stall paved parking lot and a plot of Okabena apple trees. The improvements would be funded by Bedford Industries and other local community organizations. The park land was donated by H.J. Ludlow, whose descendant, Bob Ludlow, founded the company.

 

In order to avoid a water line and stay close to the lake, planners determined the amphitheater should be placed closer than 50 feet from the lakeshore. However, a city planning ordinance prevents structures from being placed within 50 feet of the lakeshore zone.

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Council members voted to permit Mayor Mike Kuhle to sign a variance application, which will waive the restriction in this case. The application will be reviewed at the next Planning and Zoning Committee meeting.

 

Council member Amy Ernst thanked Bedford for its Ludlow Park plans.

 

“I like the fact that you guys are coming in and supporting the beatification of Worthington,” she said. “I think it’s an area that's not used, that can be, and I like the design.”

 

In another matter, the council discussed a dredge site property along Nobles County 57 that Smith Trucking recently approached the city about purchasing.

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The property was acquired in 1979 to establish a fill area for disposal of material dredged from the lake. Smith Trucking has been looking to build a bituminous plant, through the council has not been able to find a location that would be suitable for such an expansion.  

 

Council member Alan Oberloh said the site would not be suitable for such a plant due to its close proximity to the lake.

 

“If they wanted to expand on that property, a transportation business on that site would be ideal,” he said. “I’m reluctant to say I would support a sale of it if that’s leading us down a path to put an asphalt plant in it.”

 

Kuhle said any interested businesses would have to go through zoning - and get planning commission and council approval - before anything was built on the property.

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Oberloh mentioned that warehouse companies were looking into Worthington for a possible location, so appraising the property would be the best course of action.

 

The council voted to have appraisals done on the property. The land purchase was financed from a grant from the E.O. Olson Trust fund, so any money from the sale would go back to the trust.

 

In an unrelated vote, the council approved plans to replace fractured concrete pavement panels on Humiston Avenue and Fifth Avenue from Clary Street to 12th Street.

 

The project also includes partial depth pavement repairs along segments of certain pavement joints and replacing pedestrian curb ramps at all crosswalks within this segment. The project could also incorporate pedestrian bump-outs on the west side of Humiston Avenue at Clary Street, which would storm require sewer modifications to accommodate.

 

When the bid is awarded, council will be able to decide to include or not include bump-outs in the contract, though the early response didn’t seem positive. Council member Chad Cummings said the idea of bump-outs on that segment “scare the daylights” out of him.

 

The total estimated project cost is $540,125, including $54,800 for the bump-outs.

 

In an additional matter, the city is currently looking for a new director of community and economic development, as Brad Chapulis will be leaving the job on April 26 to take on the city administrator position in Baxter.

 

In the meantime, the city wants to use the Southwest Regional Development Commission to assume some of his duties. Council members approved a contract with SRDC to have its representatives assist with the preparation of public notices, process all zoning applications, prepare planning and zoning related case items for council and planning commission, as well as attend those meetings when requested.

 

As for the rest, City Administrator Steve Robinson will handle department supervisory and economic development activities, while department staff will take care of daily zoning inquiries.

 

In other news, the council:

 

  • Approved a memorandum of understanding between the City of Worthington and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local No. 49 for summer hours. Starting April 24, public works employees will work nine-hour days, Monday through Thursday, and one four-hour day on Friday.

 

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