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Local governments talk preliminary traffic study results, child care

Seven interested parties attended a recent meeting for those interested in starting a child care business.

Stock image of child care.
Stock image of child care.
Stock image by BBC Creative on Unsplash
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WORTHINGTON — Though they aren’t final, the preliminary results of the Crailsheim Road traffic study are in, and it looks like the Minnesota Department of Transportation plans no changes for the corridor.

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“The traffic study got a lot of attention,” said Nobles County Administrator Bruce Heitkamp Friday, during a meeting of representatives from the City of Worthington, Nobles County, District 518 and Minnesota West Community and Technical College. “It went all the way to the top.”

An earlier traffic study had been requested due to the concerns of multiple community organizations about pedestrian safety, given the schools situated along the corridor and the speed of vehicles going through its intersection with Oxford Street, dubbed “Armageddon Corner.” In addition, a child was struck by a vehicle in May 2022.

However, that earlier study ultimately resulted in MnDOT’s recommendation to increase the speed limit on a different part of Crailsheim Road — and leave the school-adjacent portion of the road as it was.

A new traffic study was requested and the local governments asked MnDOT to reconsider its findings.

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Nobles County Engineer Aaron Holmbeck was unable to attend Friday’s meeting, but Heitkamp said he’d hoped for more speed control south of the Intermediate School, particularly for those driving north, as the transition of speed there can be abrupt.

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“But all in all he said that the speed limits, as they’re going right now, appear to be working,” Heitkamp said.

District 518 Superintendent John Landgaard said he could understand that, but noted he also sees people driving above the speed limit. Often during school hours there’s a natural slowdown due to traffic, and after the first couple weeks of school, traffic toned down quite a bit.

As additional development continues in the area, Heitkamp said there will be more opportunities to re-examine traffic flow.

Child care

Heitkamp also updated the group on the county’s efforts to increase the availability and affordability of child care in Nobles County.

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A recent meeting for those interested in starting a child care business saw seven interested parties attend, and city council member Alaina Kolpin said a local church is investigating the possibility of hosting a day care. In addition, the Rushmore school is being investigated as a potential location for a pod system child care facility.

Landgaard said District 518 lost three teachers this year due to lack of day care options for infants, and Kolpin alluded to a general shortage of openings for infants.

City Administrator Steve Robinson said he wanted to know what the funding gaps between operational costs and affordability for clients are, what impact it will have for District 518 to go to all-day pre-K, and what different cultural norms people have regarding putting their children in day care services.

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Landgaard said the school is advertising for teachers, and its target will be to have 106 slots for 4-year-olds.

“Which means not every 4-year-old will be in our program,” he added, pointing out that the District 518 students would also still need child care after school, which would likely end around 2 p.m.

In other news, the group discussed:

  • Difficulty recruiting workers, not just for their own organizations but also for southwest Minnesota in general. They talked about the necessity of marketing and potential promotional videos as well as the need to make jobs appealing.
  • Nobles County’s internship program, which can help encourage college students to serve as interns for area businesses.
A 1999 graduate of Jackson County Central and a 2003 graduate of Augsburg College, Kari Lucin started writing for newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. During her time as a reporter, she covered beats including education, watershed, county and agriculture, and frequently wrote about health and science. She has also served as an online content coordinator and an engagement specialist at various Forum Communications properties. She was a marketing assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for two years, where she did design work in addition to writing and social media management.

Lucin is currently a community editor with the Globe of Worthington.

Email: klucin@dglobe.com
Phone: (507) 376-7319
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