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City approves land lease for Cemstone work

Improvements for proposed ready-mix facility development will begin while proposed property sale is finalized

City of Worthington
Worthington City Hall (Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON — A request by Cemstone Concrete Materials to lease land owned by the Worthington Economic Development Authority was approved Monday night in action taken prior to the evening’s Worthington City Council meeting.

The EDA, consisting of city council members and Worthington Public Utilities representative Randy Thompson, approved the latest step forward in an ongoing process that will result in Cemstone and the EDA exchanging ownership of properties. The EDA plans to sell approximately 8.51 acres it owns — located approximately 1,600 feet west of U.S. 59, south of 27th Street — in exchange for about 7.23 acres owned by Cemstone Concrete Materials at 1000 Sherwood St. and the appraised price of an additional 1.28 acres of EDA-owned property.

On Monday, the EDA considered a request from Cemstone to begin improvements for its proposed ready-mix facility development while details of the proposed sale are finalized. Should the property fail to be sold to Cemstone, the company will be required to leave and restore the property in substantially the same condition as existed at the beginning of the lease. Terms of the lease agreement state its termination date will either be the closing date of the property sale or June 30, 2022.

“During the base term, the base rent shall be $1 total, the receipt and sufficiency of which is acknowledged by the Landlord,” the lease states.

City officials acknowledged the agreement allows Cemstone to begin work on its long-discussed new facility as soon as possible.

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Following the EDA meeting, city council members breezed through multiple agenda items at a brisk pace, wrapping up business in just about an hour’s time. Among the items approved was the rezoning of two of the planned residential lots in the recently approved Cecilee Addition from R-2 to R-4, as the Worthington Housing Redevelopment Authority (HRA) intends to purchase the lots and subsequently build two, two-family homes.

An additional item pertaining to the development of housing was a formal modification of the Glenwood Heights Phase 1 project, which will allow for the addition of nine “move-up” lots to be developed in the neighborhood. It’s anticipated that 37 new lots will be available for home construction by mid-summer.

Also receiving the unanimous approval of council members was a conditional use permit for the city’s planned 27,000-square-foot indoor recreation facility, along with associated parking, infrastructure improvements and a sidewalk.

Another high-profile city project will move forward with approval Monday of a contract with Jorge Lopez of Lopez Enterprises LLC to provide on-site observation of work at the new outdoor aquatic center “to ensure compliance to the plans and specifications and act on behalf of the city's interests,” as City Administrator Steve Robinson explained. Lopez Enterprises will be paid on an hourly basis for a fee not to exceed $48,000; construction is scheduled to begin in June with substantial completion in early July 2022

In additional business, the council approved:

  • Cherrywood Addition street improvements (following a public hearing) at a cost of $66,525. The city will bond for the surfacing improvement. One citizen, Erlin Weness, stated his support for the project while adding that road conditions are currently bumpy where the improvements will take place. Work is expected to be completed by mid-October.

  • Placement of a stop sign on Grand Avenue (with no traffic control on Darling Drive) following a recommendation from the city’s Traffic and Safety committee.

  • A donation of $435 by Barbara Baumgard to the Center for Active Living.

  • A counter-offer following an assessment challenge on two parcels of property in the northwest quadrant of the Nobles County 57 and U.S. 59/Minnesota 60 intersection. The representative of the property owner’s counter-offer for the total assessment was $34,203 (43.6% of the original assessment), compared to the city’s $39,203 (an up-to-50% reduction of the total original assessment).

  • Termination of the local emergency order passed during the council’s March 23, 2020 meeting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayor Mike Kuhle thanked city staff and officials for their efforts during the period.

  • Rescinding the Glenwood Heights Second Addition collection process. This is a result of a decision made by council and the Worthington Public Utilities Water & Light Commission to sell the housing lots at prices that include all infrastructure costs, thereby eliminating the need to proceed with the assessment collection process. Costs for developing the subdivision will be paid with city and Water & Light reserves, as opposed to proceeds of tax-exempt bonds.

  • The solicitation of quotes for Darling Drive storm sewer and street repairs that Public Works Director Todd Wietzema said have long been needed at the intersection of Darling Drive and the U.S. 59 frontage road. The engineer’s estimated cost to complete this project, including contingencies, is $108,682.88.

  • A proposal from Bolton and Menk to provide engineering services to prepare for the hard surfacing improvement of 27th Street in connection with the new Cemstone site. The work will be performed on an hourly basis for a fee not to exceed $46,000.

Related Topics: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Ryan McGaughey arrived in Worthington in April 2001 as sports editor of The Daily Globe, and first joined Forum Communications Co. upon his hiring as a sports reporter at The Dickinson (North Dakota) Press in November 1998. McGaughey became news editor in Worthington in November 2002 and editor in August 2006.
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