The Worthington City Council on Monday night unanimously approved a conditional use permit that will enable Tsadkane Mariam Ethiopian Orthodox Church to operate a church in The Globe’s current office building at 300 11th St.
The city’s Planning Commission had voted unanimously to recommend approval of the requested conditional use permit subject to conditions during its March 1 meeting, including specific conditions that will allow the church to meet city parking requirements. The church has had a recent history of trying to find a suitable space to renovate or build new. It had been denied a conditional use permit in 2018 for property located across from Olson Park and instead bought five acres of land from the city of Worthington on West Gateway Drive/Plotts Avenue. The church is now unable to afford to build on the property due to membership and funding changes.
Said Mayor Mike Kuhle, “This church, I admire their persistence. They had a tough history coming together and finding a good space to have their worship. The idea with funerals still being held at St. Mary’s helps with disruptive traffic in the area. I think it’s a win-win for everyone.”
A representative of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church spoke further of the project and Mike Woll of Worthington, the Rev. Jeanette McCormick of First Lutheran Church and First Lutheran parishioner Jim Laffrenzen spoke in favor of the CUP’s issuance.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has been renting space inside First Lutheran Church for nearly 10 years. We Care Day Care & Preschool also occupies space in First Lutheran Church and has expressed a desire to take over the space the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is leasing to expand its daycare operations.
Also unanimously approved by the council Monday were plans for the city’s 2022 bituminous improvement project. The action followed a presentation given by Travis Winter of the engineering firm Bolton and Menk that broke down the costs and assessments receivable of five components of the project.
The project includes multiple locations that encompass portions of Apel Avenue, Bristol Street, Cynthia Avenue, Eleanor Street and West Oxford Street. Total cost of the work is $1,183,854,34, with assessments receivable at $357,224.91.
Also approved by council members were plans for Oxford Street reconstruction from McMillan Street to Smith Avenue that will provide for a four-lane roadway with left-turn lanes and an 8-foot pedestrian/bicycle trail on both sides of the roadway with a grass boulevard. The estimated total cost of the project is $4,456,000, with nearly all of the funding coming in federal and state aid funds split between Nobles County and the city. The council authorized an advertisement for bids to be received at 2 p.m. May 4 and considered at the council meeting May 23 after review by the State of Minnesota.
The anticipated substantial completion date for this project is Nov. 15, with the contract completion date of June 1, 2023.
The city council also approved plans for the improvement of Eighth Avenue from Ninth Street to the westerly terminus, including the replacement of the water main from Ninth Street to 10th Street. It authorized an advertisement for bids to be received on April 27 and considered for award at the May 9 council meeting.
Additionally, council members approved the position guidelines, essential duties and salary grade for an additional accountant position in the city’s finance department. The position was previously approved by council and is included in the current budget.
Positions at the city and Public Utilities are classified for salary grade based on nine separate factors. The cumulative score of the factors places the position within one of the 15 non-exempt or 12 exempt salary grades. The resulting score places the accountant position as Non-Exempt Grade 7 (N-7), which has a minimum wage rate of $25.31/hour.
Council also approved the renaming of the staff accountant position to assistant finance director. This renaming does not change the current salary grade Exempt Grade 3 (E-3), benefits, position guidelines or essential duties.