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Worthington City Council examines solutions to Blue Line sewer issues

The council is also asked to consider an annexation request.

City of Worthington
Worthington City Hall (Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)
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WORTHINGTON — Monday night’s meeting of the Worthington City Council saw continued discussion regarding the annexation of the Blue Line Junction and surrounding property , which was proposed to the council back in May.

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Representatives of the property proposed the annexation in order to get the truck stop connected to city sewer, prior to the drain field needing work.

City Planner Matt Selof indicated Monday night that it would be possible to connect the Blue Line property to an existing industrial sewer line. While the current industrial line is already overburdened, councilman Chad Cummings said this could be the push the city needs in order to address overcapacity issues.

"We know we need to expand those industrial ponds to begin with," Cummings said. "Is this the spur to get in line with that existing project and get that to where it should be anyway?"

While that undertaking would likely take three to five years and would not involve the surrounding Potter property, council members noted the timeline would allow a potential third party, interested in developing the acreage, to help work toward a solution.

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Connecting to the 27th Street Wastewater Plant was proposed as an alternate option. However, with the current acreage surrounding the Blue Line property unplatted, multiple council members voiced reluctance, as building a sewer line there could potentially be detrimental to future development of the area.

Council members indicated an interest in improving the current industrial line in order to address the drain field issues, while keeping options open for other possible property developers down the line.

Airport grant

The council also approved a proposal for services at the Worthington Municipal Airport. The airport received a grant from the Minnesota Department of Transportation Aeronautics for fiscal year 2023, to replace roofing on the maintenance hangar. The grant, not to exceed $250,000, covers 70% of all eligible costs, with the Worthington airport funding the remaining 30%.

"We've been putting money away for a long time," said Public Works Director Todd Wietzema, noting that the city has money in a reserve fund for projects like this, as well as some storm damage funds to help cover the 30% cost. "It's nothing coming out of our operating cost. We've actually been planning this kind of work for a number of years."

Airport staff has asked the firm Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. to do design work for the roof replacement, for a lump sum of $13,300. The proposal was submitted to the state for review and would be eligible for a reimbursement amount of $9,310.

JBS Fieldhouse

During committee reports, City Administrator Steve Robinson announced the JBS Fieldhouse would be open to the public starting Sept. 6.

So far the fieldhouse has been available by reservation, but starting in September, people will be able to walk in and use the space during business hours. The facility is anticipated to be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and individuals or groups will be able to go to the front counter, pay day fees, or make a reservation.

Wietzema said the facility's website should also be live by that time.

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In other action, the council:

  • Appointed Jessee Nitzche to the Cross-Cultural Committee and re-appointed Brett Lehman to the Memorial Auditorium Advisory Board on recommendation from the city's nominating committee. 
  • Recognized city staff with Employee Longevity Awards, including Gretchen Block, Joe Joswiak, Kevin Prins, Mark Riley (10 years); Kirk Feit, Keith Heidebrink, Josh McCuen (15 years); Jeremy Braaksma (20 years); Troy Appel, Vida Iten, Deb Olsen, Nancy Veen and Todd Wietzema (25 years). 
  • Approved the third and final reading of an ordinance to rezone a section of property along Nobles County 5 from a transition zone to a medium-density residential district. 
  • Approved the third and final reading of a proposed ordinance to amend Worthington city code to require parking, terminals, and cleaning businesses to obtain a conditional use permit before operating in the central business district. 
  • Passed a resolution urging Gov. Tim Walz to declare a special session in order to pass bonding and tax bills. 
  • Approved three easements along the new Cemstone site for the purpose of installation, maintenance and operation of public utilities and drainage areas. Easements were also approved by the Economic Development Authority prior to the city council meeting. 
  • Approved five-year tax abatement for construction of a single-family home on Lot 1, block 2 of the Woodland Ridge Edition.
  • Received an update on the 2022-2023 Memorial Auditorium schedule of events.
  • Prior to the City Council meeting, the Economic Development Authority approved Façade Improvement grants for the new Globe building and Laundry on 10th. DK Buildings LLC, owners of the building that currently houses The Globe, will receive a $10,000 matching grant to replace front windows, doors and install new flashing. Laundry on 10th was approved for $3,488 for exterior work, including painting and repairs. 
  • Approved a contract for services with JJ Lopez Enterprises, LLC to assist the city’s Department of Community Development in initiating the Rental Housing Maintenance and Occupancy Ordinance. The work shall include incorporating new and existing rental housing data into the database. The contract will run from approximately Sep. 6 to Jan. 20, 2023, after which Robinson indicated the job would move to a full-time position. 
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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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