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Stamp of approval: Board endorses concept for Adrian library renovations

WORTHINGTON -- Library discussions dominated separate meetings of the Nobles County Board of Commissioners Tuesday morning, with a request for support of a renovation at the Adrian Branch Library considered during the regular board meeting, and d...

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Submitted photo

WORTHINGTON - Library discussions dominated separate meetings of the Nobles County Board of Commissioners Tuesday morning, with a request for support of a renovation at the Adrian Branch Library considered during the regular board meeting, and discussion of the Worthington library during a special work session that followed.

During the board meeting, Nobles County Library Director Clint Wolthuizen presented images showing the current condition of the Adrian library building. The building is not ADA-compliant, has a non-compliant air exchange system, is missing ceiling tiles due to previous water problems, has unstable shelving and has standing water in both vents, with rusted floor vents still in place.
The county has already funded a new roof, which was completed in recent months, and Wolthuizen said a group is working to address the needs of the library.
George Lawson, a library building consultant from Ames, Iowa, visited the Adrian branch library earlier this year to look at the facility and develop a conceptual plan for renovations.
“It’s been 30 to 40 years since anything major has been done,” Wolthuizen said. The Adrian Branch Library serves approximately 1,000 patrons per month.
Lawson said his concept for the space includes creating an ADA-accessible entry and restroom, providing casual seating, a children’s area, stepped seating for children and teens, a service desk and work area at the front of the building and a computer area.
Renovation of the facility is estimated at $235,000, and Wolthuizen said between $215,000 to $220,000 will be sought from the county. The remainder would be paid through local fundraising projects.

“We’re vetting 501(c)3s at the moment to have donations stay local and tax deductible,” said Adrian Branch Librarian Meredith Vaselaar. “I believe we can raise a substantial amount of money for the inside - (for) desks and shelves and chairs.”
Wolthuizen said support is being sought at ths point from county commissioners to continue advancing the plans. His goal is to have contractors lined up by this fall, with the renovations completed by the end of this year or early 2017.
Contacts have already been made about moving the library’s collection and services to a temporary site in Adrian to serve the public during the renovations.
Board chairman Gene Metz said commissioners are endorsing the concept, while County Administrator Tom Johnson said, “We’ll have to figure out where the money comes from and how it moves forward.”
In other action, the board:

  • Approved a request for participation in the Nobles Home Initiative’s five-year tax abatement program from J. Scot and Kathleen Henning to construct a new single family home at 108 Delaware Ave., Adrian. This is the 42nd application approved as a result of the initiative.
  • Voted to proceed with advertisement for bids for demolition of three tax-forfeited properties. The houses to be demolished include one in Ellsworth, one in Worthington and one in Rushmore.
  • Appointed Valerie Ruesch to fill the remainder of a four-year term as Nobles County Assessor. The term will continue through the end of this year. 

Ruesch applied for the position after working within the assessor’s department for 28 years. She recently earned her Senior Accredited Minnesota Assessor license. Her appointment was made retroactive to Jan. 4.

  • Approved payment of $25,462.81 to Worthington Public Utilities for fiber installations around the city to create network redundancies. The county has an agreement with WPU in which it pays for 50 percent of the associated costs for installation.
  • Set a public hearing for 12:30 p.m. May 24 in the Nobles County Board Room to discuss an issue of livestock accessing Judicial Ditch 12 and causing damage to the system. The livestock owner and all landowners in the ditch system will be invited to the meeting.
  • Received a report from Sherri Smith and Morgan Woodbury, representing Minnesota Cornerstone Nobles-Rock Drug Court. The women provided an overview of the program, which was developed in October 2011 with a $350,000 Bureau of Justice grant. 

The program works with individuals convicted of felony-level drug and alcohol offenses. Smith said 75 percent of drug court graduates have remained arrest-free two years after graduation - and that percentage is higher in Nobles County. There are currently 48 participants in the Minnesota Cornerstone program, which encompasses Nobles, Rock, Pipestone, Murray and Cottonwood counties. Smith said the program sought a $130,000 allocation from the state this year, but added that the legislature currently is “not on board” with that amount. She asked for commissioners to do what they could to garner support for the allocation.

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  • Approved the extension of a temporary employee’s work schedule through the end of May in the Nobles County Public Works’ maintenance operations department.
  • Appointed Amna Bashir Arabi, Worthington, to the Community Services Advisory Committee; Scott Hain, Worthington, to the Personnel Board of Appeals; and Brent Feikema, Lismore, to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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