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Worthington City Council discusses community improvements, including local option sales tax projects

WORTHINGTON — The Worthington City Council discussed a number of community improvements during its Monday night meeting, including the storm water pollution prevention plan, an application to join the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon support network and local-option sales tax projects.

The meeting opened with a public hearing regarding the city of Worthington’s stormwater pollution prevention plan.

Director of Engineering Dwayne Haffield explained that the city’s municipal separated storm sewer system permit is up for renewal this year, and a few minor adjustments have been made to increase efforts to prevent pollution.

Permit approval requires a program that shows a measurable reduction in pollution of stormwater. Worthington’s program approaches the problem from several angles:

  • Public education and outreach
  • Public participation and involvement
  • Illicit discharge detection and elimination
  • Construction site stormwater runoff control
  • Post-construction stormwater management
  • Pollution prevention/good housekeeping for municipal operations

No members of the public commented on the plan that was presented.

The council heard a proposal for Worthington to apply to become a Yellow Ribbon Community, a designation that means the city would create a network of support for current and past veterans and their families.

The idea is to fulfill needs not met by the County Veterans Assistance Officer or Family Assistance Services. Examples include mowing lawns or shoveling snow for aging veterans and providing childcare for military spouses to have some alone time.

Mayor Mike Kuhle credited city clerk Janice Oberloh with the idea and passion to pursue this designation. All members of the council supported the plan.

City Administrator Steve Robinson presented the current schedule and budgets for the city’s local-option sales tax projects.

The 2019-2020 projects and budgets are as follows:

  • Improvements to the field house, $3 million
  • Parks and recreation improvements
    • Centennial Park pedestrian bridge replacement, $200,000

The 2020-2021 projects and budgets are as follows:

  • Outdoor aquatic center, $4.5 million
  • 10th Street Plaza, $1 million
  • Parks and recreation improvements, $1.3 million
    • Centennial Park shelter, $450,000
    • Buss Field restrooms, $300,000
    • Slater Park restroom and shelter, $300,000
    • Pleasant Park tennis court resurfacing, $80,000
    • Ludlow Park amphitheater parking lot, $120,000
    • Sunset Park boat landing improvements, $50,000

These projects are merely Phase One of the total local-option sales tax projects. The city has several other projects planned in the coming years that will be financed by the tax.

Also on the agenda:

  • The council approved the Center for Active Living’s request to adjust its meeting schedule.
  • New Worthington police officer Madison Stearns was introduced to the council and sworn in.
  • Council members awarded bids for the Homewood Hills Street Improvement Project and the 2019 Seal Coating Project.
  • Council members approved plans for the 2019 bituminous improvements and the replacement of the Centennial Park pedestrian bridge.
  • Council approved conditional use permits for the entertainment spec building and for the Tsadkane Mariam Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
  • Council members considered a number of zone changes, all of which moved forward without dissent.
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