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City explores options around Blue Line Junction annexation proposal

City Council met Wednesday for a special session to discuss the proposal.

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Trucks refuel in this Globe file photo at the Blue Line Travel Center, now Blue Line Junction, at Worthington.
(Tim Middagh / The Globe)
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WORTHINGTON — A proposal to annex Blue Line Junction and the approximately 116 surrounding acres into the city of Worthington was brought before the Worthington City Council during a special session on Wednesday.

Larry Potter, former owner of Blue Line Travel Center and current owner of the surrounding acreage, proposed the two properties be annexed in order to get the truck stop connected to city sewer and allow for future development of the area surrounding it.

Totaling approximately 125 acres of space along Minnesota 60 and south of the airport, the proposed annexation area is part of the orderly annexation area with Lorain Township as designated by a 1972 agreement.

Potter and Brian Dreessen, of Cooperative Energy Co., who purchased the Blue Line Travel Center, attended the meeting and explained that they hoped to figure out a solution for the property’s sewer system, as the drain field on the property nears the end of its prospective life.

Accessing the city’s sanitary sewer would allow for further development of the area, and Worthington as a whole, according to Potter.

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“If you want to develop the city, this is a really good opportunity to start,” he told council members. “I'm sure that that location would sell, especially with 60 getting busier all the time.”

While city staff noted several issues with the proposed annexation, including the feasibility of connecting the property to the city sewer system and concerns over creating an “island” of unconnected property, among other issues, Councilwoman Amy Ernst argued that the city's approach should be to consider what would need to happen to find a solution.

“We don't want the city to be an obstructionist to progress,” Ernst said before addressing Dreessen and Potter. “If we can put down 'this is what it would take for it to happen. This is how much it would cost approximately,' then you guys could make a decision.”

Dreessen and Potter both stated they would be willing to help shoulder some of the costs associated with the undertaking, should the city decide to move forward.

The possibility of working with JBS to obtain sewer access through their sanitary system was suggested by Councilman Chad Cummings, as additional options are explored.

While no official action was taken during the meeting, the city agreed to continue discussions in an effort to find an adequate solution for the property’s sewer access.

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Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.
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