WORTHINGTON — The Worthington City Council unanimously approved Monday night the award of a bid for the municipal water treatment facility improvement projects in the amount of $26,205,800.

Gridor Construction Inc. of Buffalo was the lowest of two bidders on the project, and the Worthington Public Utilities (WPU) Water & Light Commission took action to award the bid to Gridor during its July 6 meeting. Rice Lake Construction Group of Deerwood had submitted a bid of $27,013,800.

WPU had contracted with Bolton & Menk on design services, and a letter to WPU General Manager Scott Hain was provided to council members. It stated, “The number of bids received was appropriate for this type of project and the proximity of bids indicate the prices were appropriate, as the bids were within approximately 3.2% of each other, and within 3% of the engineer’s cost opinion upper range,” wrote Jake Pichelmann, environmental project manager for Bolton & Menk.

Hain said moving the project forward was contingent on council action on the bid, as well as receipt of an acceptable financing package from the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority.

“Unfortunately, the bid was a little bit higher than we hoped,” Hain said, adding that the improved wastewater treatment facility should be operational by late summer 2023.

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A new wastewater treatment facility will be constructed on land to the east of the existing plant, of which some to-be-refurbished components will continue to be used. The project will include a new treatment for wastewater that will remove phosphorus and other harmful nutrients from wastewater before discharge.

The city’s current wastewater treatment facility, originally constructed in 1962, has gone through three renovation projects — in 1983, 1989 and 2000 — and a new plant was recommended during Bolton and Menk’s evaluation of the current site.

Also on Monday, the Worthington Economic Development Authority — composed of Mayor Mike Kuhle, Worthington City Council members and Water & Light Commission representative Randy Thompson — approved a petition for improvements in the 27th Street roadway in conjunction with the new Cemstone Concrete Materials ready-mix concrete plant to be constructed at 1040 27th St. The council followed with similar action later in the meeting.

“Because this facility will generate a high volume of truck traffic trips, the existing 27th Street roadway will be inadequate for Cemstone’s proposed transportation needs once the facility is operational,” Worthington Assistant City Administrator and Director of Economic Development Jason Brisson said.

Council members approved in June a professional services agreement with Bolton and Menk for a topographic survey, preliminary engineering and final design for the proposed roadway improvements. The result was the petition that was approved Monday.

Brisson said the plant should achieve “substantial completion” by Nov. 30.

In other business Monday, the council approved:

  • A Nobles Home Initiative application from Dan Krueger for tax abatement on construction of a two-family duplex at 1356 and 1362 North Crailsheim Road. The duplex consists of two, approximately 1,318-square-foot units with 632-square-foot attached garages. The estimated value of the project is $425,000, which would generate approximately $4,524 in annual taxes based on the 2020 tax rate.

  • Revised position guidelines for the city’s building official in preparation for recruitment for the position. It’s hoped a new building official will be hired by sometime in September and have the opportunity to work with current building official Armand Eshleman before his planned retirement.

  • A change of zone request from the Worthington Housing and Redevelopment Authority for city-owned property east of Grand Avenue and directly north and south of Cecilee Street. The action changes the property’s zone from R-2 (one-family, low-density designation) to R-4 (medium-density residential). The HRA intends to purchase the lots and subsequently build two, two-family homes.

  • An amendment to city ordinance that removes an unenforced setback requirement. Previously, stockpiles must be 200 feet from any property line, except 50 feet from a street line.

  • The scheduling of a public hearing to consider a potential change to the city’s charter that would exempt zoning ordinances from the three-reading requirement of the charter. Brisson said such a change would enable city staff to comply with the requirements of Minnesota’s 60-Day Rule for zoning applications. A date and time for the public hearing was not set.