County discusses options for 'embarrassing' gravel parking lot in downtown Worthington
“Since it’s our lot, I think we need to do something stable.”
WORTHINGTON — Nobles County owns the only gravel parking lot in downtown Worthington, and that’s not likely to change based on discussions during a work session among county commissioners on Wednesday.
Administrator Bruce Heitkamp said the gravel lot, used as overflow parking for employees of the Nobles County Government Center, was in rough shape following snowmelt and spring thaw in recent weeks. He asked commissioners if they would be interested in firming up the lot by either bringing in new material or paving a portion of the lot and creating a rain garden to stay within the county’s limitations on impervious surfaces.
“The quickest, dirtiest thing to do is crushed concrete and you maintain it, but probably the nicest thing is to pour a concrete parking lot — that’s definitely the Cadillac,” said Public Works Director Aaron Holmbeck. He said a concrete lot, if built right, would function well for more than 40 years with low maintenance. An asphalt lot would also be a possibility, though he said he wouldn’t recommend it.
“The other way is to build a decent base, use ballast rock and cap with crushed concrete and, every year, add a load,” Holmbeck said.
Commissioner Justin Ahlers said he favored bringing in a couple of loads of crushed concrete.
“What is the county’s purpose for the lot over the next five to 10 years?” asked Commissioner Chris Dybevick.
“I would say it’s needed,” Heitkamp said of the lot, noting the two-hour parking restrictions on the streets surrounding the government center. “We’ve met our capacity on the concrete lot and we do need the overflow. I think we do need to retain that lot for secondary, off-street purposes.”
Commissioner Bob Paplow suggested looking into the cost of putting concrete on the lot, and asked about the potential of paving half of it.
“Since it’s our lot, I think we need to do something stable,” Paplow said.
Commissioner Bob Demuth Jr. said the condition of the lot is frequently discussed at employee empowerment team meetings.
“It is the only gravel parking lot in the city center, and it’s a bit embarrassing,” Demuth said.
Ahlers then responded, “Every dime we spend on there (the lot) is a dime less that we spend on a road that we drive every day.”
Holmbeck said he could have his staff do what they could to maintain it for now, and said anything more permanent wouldn’t happen overnight.