Senior housing facility plan approved

WORTHINGTON -- A new senior housing complex was given the go-ahead Monday night during a busy Worthington City Council meeting that lasted more than two and a half hours.

WORTHINGTON -- A new senior housing complex was given the go-ahead Monday night during a busy Worthington City Council meeting that lasted more than two and a half hours.

Council members unanimously approved a special use permit application that will allow Accessible Space Inc., St. Paul, to construct a 19-unit senior supportive housing complex at 2107 Nobles St. The property is located in an R-2 -- or one-family, low-density residential -- district, and a "multi-family" residential use is allowed through issuance of such a permit.

The new complex will include a 20-stall, on-site parking facility, which meets city off-street parking requirements of a stall for each rental unit designated for senior citizens. Conditions for trash screening and buffer requirements were also included as part of the special use permit.

The city also took an additional step in developing a planned backage road that would run parallel to U.S. 59 (North Humiston Avenue), as council members approved a contract with total fees not to exceed $263,643 with Short Elliot Hendrickson (SEH), Worthington. Other improvements desired for the Ryan's Road/North Humiston Avenue intersection include median changes on U.S. 59 and installation of a traffic signal.

City Engineer Dwayne Haffield explained that SEH will be able to utilize an individual experienced in right-of-way acquisitions, a matter that Haffield admitted may be "a sensitive and time-consuming process." The contract allows up to 360 total hours of combined services for the acquisition process.


The total proposed fee for basic design services -- $219,665 -- covers a total of 2,030 combined hours of service from SEH. Haffield noted that, considering the limited staff in the city's engineering department, a consultant is necessary for the project.

Haffield also presented a public hearing on the 2008 street reconstruction and surfacing improvements that began Monday's meeting and lasted about 35 minutes. This year's street work includes 13th Street (Clary Street to 450 feet north), Pleasant Avenue (South Shore Drive to First Avenue Southwest), Spring Avenue (Service Road to Cecilee Street), the entire length of Woodcrest Avenue, a portion of Buchanan Court and the entire length of Woodland Court.

The total cost of all streets is estimated at $780,100, with a city share of $546,345.18 (70 percent). The remaining 30 percent will come from special assessments.

While no one in attendance had questions about any of the planned street work, city resident Ronnie Noerenberg told the council North Rose Avenue is in poor condition and is in need of attention.

"I'd be better off to drive in the country on a gravel road than on that street," Noerenberg said. "People at least deserve a bituminous street out there."

Haffield advised Noerenberg to have North Rose Avenue property owners file a petition with the city, which it would help get started. Thirty-five percent of the property on the street must be represented on the signed petition for consideration.

In other matters, the council:

  • Approved 2008 fees for the city's summer recreation programs, the city's outdoor swimming pool and park concession permits. The city's summer recreation programs, adult softball and the outdoor pool are managed by a contract with the Worthington Area YMCA, with the Y responsible for the promotion and collection of fees and the hiring of staff. The city's youth programs -- fun and adventure ($34), tennis ($26), track ($24), girls softball ($35), rookie baseball ($31) and junior baseball ($36), will all see a $1 increase over last year's fees; the adult softball and outdoor pool fees are unchanged.

    There are also no changes to the fees for park concession permits for 2008.

  • Approved a lump sum fee of $252,729 that covers 2,100 hours of services by the consulting firm Mead and Hunt for design of Runway 17-35 at Worthington Municipal Airport. Haffield expects the project to be 95 percent federally funded.
  • Heard a 25-minute presentation from Scott Johnson of Southwestern Mental Health Center Inc., which plans to build a 13,000-square-foot office building and 8,000-square-foot residential treatment facility on the former Central Elementary property. Johnson acknowledged unanticipated delays in demolition on the property, apologizing for them while indicating work is about 75 percent complete. He also noted "some sort of memorial" to Central Elementary is planned for the site.

    The total cost of the project is estimated at $3.5 million.

  • Approved the hiring of Mindy Eggers as assistant city clerk. Eggers began working for the city on Monday.
Ryan McGaughey arrived in Worthington in April 2001 as sports editor of The Daily Globe, and first joined Forum Communications Co. upon his hiring as a sports reporter at The Dickinson (North Dakota) Press in November 1998. McGaughey became news editor in Worthington in November 2002 and editor in August 2006.
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