WORTHINGTON — A storm sewer improvement project in Worthington’s Cherrywood Addition took an important step forward during Monday night’s Worthington City Council meeting.

After a presentation on the planned improvements by Travis Winter of Bolton & Menk met with no questions from council members, a Chanhassen man representing Worthington’s Haack Acres detailed his objections to the project as proposed. Joel Jenkins, who grew up near Worthington, said that while he was in favor of the project, he had multiple reservations. The Cherrywood Addition property is located along Crailsheim Road, just south of the frisbee golf course in Olson Park.

Ultimately, council members voted to approve the specifications for the improvement project and formally order plans for it at an estimated city cost of $163,407. Jenkins did receive a deferral on the property taxes for Haack Acres until development occurs; terms for that deferral remain to be set.

The storm sewer improvement will consist of an urban drainage system including a bioretention pond for the area to be developed. The improvement includes elements that need to be sized larger to accommodate flows from upstream (generally south) of a proposed residential development and is therefore not required to be developer installed, it was explained Monday.

Jenkins suggested a host of alternate considerations Monday night for the improvement project, but other than the assessment deferral, his ideas arrived too late in the game. Steve Johnson, representing Johnson Builders & Realty — which is poised to build new homes in Cherrywood Addition — confirmed that progress on the project would be delayed should the improvement plan, as presented, not move forward,

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“We expect to be able to start building two- to three-unit condominiums in the next two or three weeks,” Johnson said. “We’ve had such strong interest in the project, and at present it looks like we have three or four of them sold.

“Joel (Jenkins) brings up some good points … but it would be really difficult to slow this project up,” he continued. “We would very much appreciate a yes vote tonight to move forward.”

Work on the project is expected to begin as early as next month. In a separate, related action by the council, bids are due by Sept. 10 and will be considered at the Sept. 14 council meeting.

Also Monday, multiple administrative measures were approved by the council and the Economic Development Authority in relation to establishment of the Worthington Small Business Assistance Grant Program.

The city of Worthington formally accepted $1,017,847 in Coronavirus relief funds from the State of Minnesota for eligible COVID-19 expenses incurred between March 1 and Nov. 15. A total of $700,000 was then transferred to the city’s EDA for the small business aid program, in which Nobles County and its townships are also participating.

In other business Monday, the council:

  • Approved a proposal from Short Elliot Hendrickson to prepare re-roof and construction documents for the Worthington Ice Arena at a cost of $12,800. While Worthington City Councilman Chad Cummings supported the action, he also reiterated his desire for the city to ultimately manage the facility and urged that further discussions on the matter take place.

  • Approved plans for the Glenwood Heights Second Addition Project, which carries an estimated cost of nearly $2.38 million for site grading, drainage, storm sewer, streets, sanitary sewer and water main improvements, including engineering and contingencies. The work will be funded in collaboration with Worthington Public Utilities.

Phase I of the Glenwood Heights Second Addition housing subdivision includes 22 executive and move-up single family lots along with six villa/twin home lots.

  • Discussed a potential resolution, to be enacted due to the COVID-19 emergency, to allow construction at the planned field house facility with a temporary variance on the number of required bathroom fixtures. This would result in getting the facility open to youths and their families at an earlier-than-planned date.

City Administrator Steve Robinson said a significant amount of luck needs to take place for fieldhouse work to accelerate, but Cummings remained hopeful.

“This is an effort to do something to help the kids in the area who have had their lives turned upside down the last few months,” Cummings said.