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Worthington City Council approves request to sell 3.2 beer during Legion, Amateur ball games

Annual permit will allow 3.2 beer sales through August during Junior Legion, Legion and amateur baseball games

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Worthington Police Chief Troy Appel (left) and Sgt. Josh McCuen join the department's three newest officers, Christine Shorter (second from left), Bryant Schroeder and Alex Van Someren. The new officers, who all started in 2020, were officially sworn in during Monday night's meeting of the Worthington City Council. (Special to The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — The Worthington City Council on Monday approved an application from the Worthington Area Youth Baseball Association (WAYBA) to sell 3.2 beer during Junior Legion, Legion and Amateur ballgames from May through August of this year.

Jason Turner, a WAYBA representative, said because the ballfield is owned by the school district, the association reached out to both the school and the city of Worthington about having the city take over the ballfield. Since that began, he said a dedicated person is taking care of the field and conditions have already improved.

A second reason for the switch is to be able to sell 3.2 beer onsite. Funds raised from the sales would be used for field maintenance, pay umpires and eventually add more baseball fields in the community, Turner said. In addition, WAYBA hopes to reduce the fee for joining the league, which can be cost-prohibitive for some families.

After seeing high-quality ballfields in Alexandria, Marshall, Luverne, New Ulm and Sioux City, Iowa, Turner said a common denominator was raising funds through beer sales.

WAYBA has already secured the necessary insurance to sell beer, and the next step was securing the license.

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City Administrator Steve Robinson informed council members that their legal department said the city has the authority to issue a permit with or without restrictions.

One of the concerns raised during the meeting was the age of ballplayers. Turner said Junior Legion teams consist of freshmen and sophomores, while Legion players are juniors and seniors.

“Are there risks involved? Potentially,” Turner said. “To me, it’s a very controlled environment. It’s a very public environment. I don’t feel we’re at risk with minors getting a hold of alcohol out there. The positives far outweigh the potential negatives.”

Turner also noted that no one under age 18 is allowed to work in the concession stand, and said a WAYBA board member will be present during every game to oversee sales.

With only two ball fields on which to play in the community — one at Worthington Middle School and the other at Minnesota West Community & Technical College — Turner said WAYBA is hoping to double its concession sales income with the addition of beer. Part of those funds would also be set aside to construct additional baseball fields in the community. He said a group comprised of city and school district leaders, community members and WAYBA members has been meeting to discuss the idea, and they are meeting with an engineer on Wednesday.

“I commend all your work on it,” said Mayor Mike Kuhle. “It’s good that we’re investing in these fields and investing in these kids.”

WAYBA will need to apply for a beer license each year, as it’s an annual permit.

In other action, the council:

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  • Conducted a swearing-in ceremony for three Worthington police officers who joined the force in 2020. Chief Troy Appel said the ceremony was delayed due to the mask-wearing policy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those sworn in were Alex Van Someren, a native of Hudson, Wisconsin; and two Worthington natives, Christina Shorter and Bryant Schroeder. Van Someren joined the force Aug. 17, Shorter on Sept. 7 and Schroeder on Oct. 19. All three work full-time on the afternoon shift.

  • Approved without discussion the third reading of a proposed ordinance to amend city code pertaining to the development requirements in the Cherrywood Addition, Planned Unit Development (PUD) No. 10; the third reading of a proposed ordinance amending city code pertaining to property rezoning from transitional to general manufacturing; and the second reading of a proposed ordinance amending city code to rezone property from one family detached and one family low density district zoning to a PUD No. 14 in the Glenwood Heights Second Addition.

  • Reported the results of a closed session with Robinson to conduct a performance evaluation. Kuhle said Robinson was given a satisfactory rating during the review.

  • Approved a five-year contract renewal with Schaap Sanitation to begin July 1 for refuse and recycling collection and disposal for residents of the city of Worthington. The contract identifies no fee increase for 2021.

  • Approved an on-sale liquor license application for the Nobles County Fair Association/Worthington Speedway to sell beverages at up to 12 events between May and August. The group had previously applied for a 3.2 on-sale beer license, but due to difficulty in getting 3.2 beverages from the distributor for the entire season, they opted to request the intoxicating liquor license. All of the required paperwork, fees and insurance certificate listing the City of Worthington as additional insured were submitted.

  • Was introduced to new Worthington City Planner Matthew Selof, who started on Monday. Selof is a native of Polk City, Iowa, and graduated earlier this month from Iowa State University.

Related Topics: GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
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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