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City council approves ATV regulations, continues projects

WORTHINGTON -- ATV regulations, building projects and the Hotel Thompson were among the agenda items at the regular meeting of the Worthington City Council Tuesday night.

4679997+Worthington city hall Web.jpg

WORTHINGTON - ATV regulations, building projects and the Hotel Thompson were among the agenda items at the regular meeting of the Worthington City Council Tuesday night.

ATV regulations Council members heard a third reading of a proposed ordinance to regulate ATVs on city streets. This discussion has been ongoing since February, and the favorable vote on the third reading means that the ordinance is adopted.

Council members are aware that without having a city ordinance regarding ATV use, the law would revert to Minnesota state policy, which prohibits any operation of ATVs of any kind within city limits. By creating the new ordinance, citizens will be allowed to use ATVs within established parameters.

However, the ordinance can be repealed in the future if Worthington citizens don’t use it responsibly, it was noted.

“Don’t abuse it,” Councilwoman Amy Ernst warned.

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A new chapter 73 of city code will be added to detail the rules about ATV usage.

Council members also approved the proposed permit fees for ATV licenses, which licenses will be affixed to each vehicle and non-transferrable. A one-year permit will cost $25, two-year $35 and three-year $45.

Building projects A number of building projects were also considered at the meeting.

Plans were approved for an entertainment spec building that would include a movie theater, and council members authorized staff to advertise for bids.

The building is planned to be 19,527 square feet and include five theater auditoria, which will seat 376 people in total.

Bids will be accepted through June 27 and considered at the July 8 city council meeting.

In order for a contract to be awarded, the parcel of land must be rezoned, a conditional use permit must be approved, a theater operator must enter into a lease agreement and the city must acquire the land.

City council members also agreed to enter a professional services agreement with the engineering firm Short Elliott Hendrickson for professional services on the field house building. The scope of the project extends to 16,000 square feet of turf field for recreational activities and 6,000 square feet that includes office space, restrooms and the indoor playground.

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SEH was the low bidder at $110,000, which will be paid in one lump sum.

“This would be a nice project to get done before next winter,” said Mayor Mike Kuhle.

At a previous council meeting, members authorized a call for bids to replace the 10th Avenue bridge. Only one bid was received, and it was 63% higher than the engineer’s estimate. Council members voted Tuesday to reject the bid and advertise again in January 2020.

Because the 10th Avenue bridge replacement now will not happen this year, city council members decided to go ahead and begin the Centennial Park pedestrian bridge project that was initially planned for next year.

Hotel Thompson City Administrator Steve Robinson and Director of Community Development, Planning, Zoning and Building Services Jason Brission updated the council on the status of the Hotel Thompson.

During the last Hotel Thompson discussion, council members were informed that three potential buyers were interested in purchasing the property. Since then, buyers have started to lose interest because of demands of the receiver, Lighthouse Management Group. Lighthouse is insisting that it recoups its unpaid taxes and unpaid rent expenses, and demands that it not be required to guarantee a clean title - essentially, it will only sell the property if no contingencies are put in place.

Those conditions make the property much less desirable to potential buyers. Council members agreed to make a decision about moving forward at the next regular council meeting.

Also approved Tuesday:

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  • A first reading of a proposed ordinance to vacate part of Eighth Street.
  • A second reading of a proposed ordinance to vacate part of Ninth Street.
  • A first reading of a change of zone for eight acres of property along South Crailsheim Road owned by Timothy Blume.
  • A first reading of a change of zone for the proposed entertainment spec building site. The last first reading was invalid because the ordinance was not included in the council packet.
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