Council chooses Cummings as mayor pro tem

In a brief session of only 30 minutes, the council also acted unanimously on a host of mostly administrative and public works-related items.

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

WORTHINGTON — The Worthington City Council elected Chad Cummings as mayor pro tem for the remainder of 2021 and officially declared a city council vacancy and a plan to fill the seat during its Monday evening meeting.

In a brief session of only 30 minutes, the council also acted unanimously on a host of mostly administrative and public works-related items. Members received paper ballots to cast their votes for the individual to replace Mike Harmon, who died March 7, as mayor pro tem. Cummings is an at-large member of the council and was elected to his second term this past November.

The city is now accepting applications from individuals interested in being appointed to the vacant city council position. Those applications, due March 31 to City Clerk Mindy Eggers, will then be reviewed by a subcommittee that will ultimately make a recommendation to the city council. It’s hoped the council will vote on its new member during a scheduled April 12 meeting.

Among other actions taken Monday by the council, the third and final required reading of an ordinance to amend city code and create a new definition for maximum lot coverage that would include all buildings, structures and accessory structures was approved. Driveways, sidewalks and uncovered patios will not count against a person’s maximum lot coverage, and maximum lot coverage will be a percentage of the total lot size.

Under the amended code, residential districts will have the following maximum lot coverage: R-1: 40% (one family detached district); R-2: 40% (one family, low density district); R-3: 40% (low density preservation district); R-4: 40% (medium density residential district); R-5: 60% (multi-family medium and high-density district); R-6: 50% (mobile home district); R-7: 40% (one family, incremental growth district).


Additionally, the council approved plans and specifications for the Cecilee Street Extension, which will be built approximately 650 feet from its current termination to Grand Avenue. The work includes curb and gutter, storm sewer, bituminous pavement base bid with a concrete alternate, an alternate to replace the existing water main, installation of water services, installation of sanitary sewer services at the existing sanitary main and boulevard sidewalks on both sides of Cecilee.

Worthington City Administrator Steve Robinson said the project will result in the addition of 17 single-family lots, a future street extension into the undeveloped former Northland Mall site and a future sidewalk north to the movie theater site. The estimated project cost of the base bid is $669,000, while the estimated total project cost including both alternates is $767,000. Funding will come from proceeds of the 2008 sale of then-Worthington Regional Hospital.

The council authorized advertisement for bids to be received on April 21 and considered for award at its April 26 council meeting. It’s hoped the single-family lots will begin being offered for sale this summer.

In other business, the council:

  • Adopt a resolution accepting a park bench donation from Elena Harmon in memory of her late husband, Mike Harmon. The bench will be placed along the trail near the 10th Avenue Bridge, for which Mike Harmon was a passionate advocate.

“This is an excellent donation,” Mayor Mike Kuhle said. “We really appreciate the family coming forward on this.”

  • Adopted a resolution authorizing a Speed and Aggressive Driving Grant agreement that allows the city of Worthington — along with Jackson, Cottonwood, Nobles and Rock counties and the city of Mountain Lake — to partner with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety to combat increased speeds and the rising number of speed-related traffic fatalities on Minnesota's roads. The initiative extends from Feb. 1 through Sept. 30, and the grant pays for officers’ overtime during operational waves of the effort.

  • Authorized execution of an airport/industrial park farm land lease for 353 acres of agricultural land at the Worthington Municipal Airport and U.S. 59 Industrial Park property. Four proposals for the land were submitted to the city, and the proposal for a two-year lease with Tom Martin in the amount of $98,009 was accepted.

  • Awarded a $380,000 contract for the Chautauqua Park restroom project to Clair Van Grouw Construction. The contracted amount is $133,150.55 (or 25.9%) less than the engineer’s estimate of probable cost.

  • Set the annual permit fee for private docks to be located on public property at $175. The city will allow all such permits on the condition they meet dock policy, and owners who currently have a valid 2020 dock permit will have first option on renewal for this year. Cummings urged the city to send a letter to those permit holders to clarify the city’s policy on the matter.

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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