WORTHINGTON — A long-term solution may be on the horizon for the Worthington branch of the Nobles County Library.

The Nobles County Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed Tuesday that Library Director David Bradford should pursue a 20-year plan for the historic building that could potentially include a remodel, revamp or update. An addition was also discussed, but concerns remain regarding parking, as well as requirements stemming from the building’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

“I don’t think my constituents want a Band-Aid, I think they want a 20-year fix,” said Commissioner Robert Demuth Jr.

Commissioner Bob Paplow said he was in favor of a remodel like that of the Adrian branch, and not an addition. He also advocated finding “a nice place for the (Nobles County) Arts Center so they can have a whole building.”

The Arts Center and the Nobles County Historical Society are both located in the basement of the Worthington branch library, but the Historical Society is already in the process of moving to the former Armory.

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Bradford said any 20-year plan would need to include the Arts Center being out of the building.

“That space would be much more used by the library,” he said.

“I’m not for kicking them to the curb because that’s not what this is about,” said Commissioner Donald Linssen.

Commissioners emphasized the need for collaboration with other stakeholders, including the city.

Commissioner Justin Ahlers said going forward with preliminary planning of any kind should be contingent on bringing the city of Worthington into the process as well as the Friends of the Nobles County Library.

Commissioners also unanimously voted to hire consultants Library Strategies to help create a plan for implementing the goals set forth in the Nobles County Library Strategic Plan written by the consultants.

In other news, commissioners:

  • Approved an Ocheda Dairy Inc. manure pipeline that will be bored 15 feet below the lake bed of Lake Ocheda to bring the natural fertilizer to fields for application. The pipeline will be used about seven days a year, will be pressure-tested before, during and after use, and will be cleaned out following use. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has already permitted the pipeline, which features failsafe switches to shut the pipeline down quickly if there is a loss of pressure. Linssen said he’d heard concerns about the project but that he also had faith in those recommending the project. Ahlers said he believed it is safer than putting semi trucks on the road to move the manure to the fields.

  • Voted not to purchase land adjacent to Prairie Justice Center, following a closed session.

  • Did not receive any bids for a piece of property at 108 Kentucky Ave. in Adrian. Previously a dilapidated home, Nobles County stepped in to remediate it and then offered the lot for sale. As no bids were received, it will be listed for sale.

  • Listened to the Lincoln-Pipestone Rural Water annual report. In 2020, the organization connected 53 customers, including 45 residential, five livestock operations and three office buildings. As yet this year, there have been 80 hookups, which is more than the annual average of 40 to 60, according to LPRW General Manager Jason Overby.

  • Continued to discuss the county’s budget and its preliminary levy, which must be certified by the end of its next scheduled meeting.

  • Learned from Nobles County Veterans Service Officer Jim Dunn that the Worthington area was designated a Yellow Ribbon Program Community for its support of veterans and their families. A ceremony is planned at 11:30 a.m. on King Turkey Day.