Council discusses temporary movie showing site

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington City Council on Monday night discussed an issue that affects all area residents -- the current lack of a movie theater of any sort in the city of Worthington.

WORTHINGTON - The Worthington City Council on Monday night discussed an issue that affects all area residents - the current lack of a movie theater of any sort in the city of Worthington. 

City officials have recently stated that Northland Cinema owner Todd Frager is still committed to having a theater in Worthington as a portion of the proposed Promenade on Oxford development.
Despite this promising news, the timeline for the project is such that even if the best-case scenario occurs - and construction on the Promenade development begins in the late spring or early summer of this year - Worthington likely still faces another year of no permanent theater facilities.
City Administrator Steve Robinson announced Monday that renewed efforts are currently being made to screen movies during the remaining interim period.
“We are looking at using Memorial Auditorium to show movies, and are meeting with technical people to look at how that could be done,” Robinson said. “There would be some cost for equipment, and would it would not be a high-tech movie theater experience, but it would give us the ability to show some fun movies. We should be able to show second-run movies and a host of other movies; classics and more.”
Robinson also noted that movies are sometimes put into their second run while still in first run.
Progress will be made quickly on the Memorial proposal, but Robinson made certain to emphasize that the site is not a long-term solution.
“We are planning to bring a proposal for the council to consider by the next meeting to see if you would like to move forward,” Robinson detailed. “We would like all to realize that it is an interim plan and a community service until we are able to have a full-blown movie theater back in Worthington. There would be intermittent showings based on the availability of the auditorium.
“We will have a list of available dates and a price tag that it would take to get it started when we present it to the council,” he added.

“The Memorial Auditorium Advisory Committee is excited about this, and we hope the public would also be excited to have something,” Councilwoman Diane Graber said.
“Would you be interested in selling wine and beer?” Councilman Scott Nelson asked. “I know that is something that a lot of theaters are doing these days to bring people in.”
Robinson responded that they would “not be opposed to that” idea.
Also Monday, a significant point of discussion for the council on a blustery, cold evening was the assumption and loan modification agreement with Lori Klooster and the Living Life Adult Day Center.
The agreement would release the real estate lien currently on the property that would prevent a sale from going through if still in effect, and would restart the loan into an unsecured loan that Klooster would take on personally.
Nelson, who sits on the committee of the revolving loan fund that supplied part of Klooster’s original loan, laid out the city’s options with Klooster’s remaining $47,950.83 loan balance. The Daily Globe previously reported that as of Dec. 1, 2015, Klooster was six months in default of her loan payments.
“We really only have two options on this,” Nelson said. “If we say no, it will result in loan foreclosure, and if we say yes, Lori has an unsecured loan to go forward and to to pay this back in good faith.”
Nelson stated that if foreclosure did occur, the city would get no money back due to being “fourth in line to be paid.” Nelson and Kuhle both said multiple times that the money from the foreclosure would be exhausted after paying the first three loan-giving parties.
Councilman Larry Janssen asked if the second and recommended option - the unsecured loan - made the most sense for the city financially.
“How do you know that it is to our best advantage?” Janssen asked.
Nelson answered that the committee “saw some financial issues this morning,” and repeated that the city would receive no money if the building went into foreclosure.
“You’re sure of that?” Janssen asked.
“We’re not sure of anything,” Nelson replied, again mentioned that the city is the fourth in line to be paid.
Director of Community and Economic Development Brad Chapulis added further background information upon a request from Graber.
“The loan was taken out in 2012, and Ms. Klooster has made payments during the three year period and has a current balance of about $48,000,” Chapulis said. “The agreement converts the business loan to a personal loan and releases the real estate lien so the sale can go through.”
Chapulis then reiterated that no money would come to the city if the property was sold through foreclosure.
“Based on the appraised value of the property itself, the sale of that property through the free market or a sheriff’s sale, I am confident that there would be no net proceeds that would come back to the city,” he said.
Multiple councilmembers asked if there was collateral available, but Chapulis stated that there were no assets or anything of value to collateralized. The agreement would have Klooster paying back installments of $680 per month to pay down the loan.
After further discussion waffled back and forth on the safest course of action with the loan, the council finally voted 4-1 to approve the assumption and loan modification agreement with Klooster that will have her pay back the loan in installments. That in turn frees up the property for probable sale to Pastor Jose Miranda, who hopes to buy the building and turn it into a worship space for his Spanish United Pentecostal Church.
In other business, the council:

  • Elected Nelson as the mayor pro tempore.
  • Approved the change of zone application for 500 and 620 Stower Drive from M-2 to M-1 light manufacturing, which will allow Miranda’s church to operate on the site.
  • Approved the change of zone application for 1720 Burlington Ave. from the current R-1 single-family residential to R2-1 single-family low-density residential to allow for the applicant to develop the eastern portion of the property for residential development.
  • Approved a special use permit application for 500 Stower Drive to allow the applicant, Miranda, to operate a religious institution or church on the property. Chapulis noted that the Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to recommend the permit with two caveats: first, the applicant complies with the city’s off-street parking ordinances, and second, the applicant properly screens any outdoor trash area in compliance with city code.
  • Approved a special use permit application for owner Larry David of 929 13th St. to construct a detached garage on his property, with two caveats: first, the applicant completes the alternative flood proofing method as recommended as the property is located within a floodplain; and second, the applicant properly uses methods to mitigate sediment runoff during construction.
  • Approved the Oxford Street Redevelopment Plan. Kuhle advocated for the creation of a formal business association for the street that would help in keep the implementation going, while also encouraging an annual report on the plan back to the council every year to see if progress has been made. Chapulis noted after a question that the plan is meant to complement Worthington’s existing strategic plan and be a part of it.
  • Approved a licensing agreement with Alltel Communication (referred to as Verizon) to install cell phone signal booster antennas on two streetlights in Worthington - one on Ray Drive near McDonalds, one just off the 59/60 roundabout.
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