Council hears presentation on planned Amelia Earhart statue

A plan to place a bronze statue of Amelia Earhart on city-owned property was formally announced and approved during Monday’s Worthington City Council meeting.


The Worthington Community Image Committee of the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce previously presented the plan to the city’s Public Arts Commission. Earhart was known to have spent time in Worthington when she was younger and has been mentioned in numerous Worthington historical writings.


During its May 10 meeting, the Public Arts Commission unanimously approved the proposed sculpture. The Community Image Committee and the Public Arts Commission are proposing placing the sculpture on Sailboard Beach.


The city’s Park and Recreation Advisory Board met on May 17 to review the proposed artwork and its location within the park, and it endorsed the project at that time. The total cost for the project is $44,000, and all fundraising for the project will be undertaken by the Community Image Committee. City staff has agreed to help with the placement of the proposed statue, which will be 52 inches high, 66 inches wide and 38 inches deep and will weigh 500 pounds.


Monday marked the public announcement, as well as the period for public review and 30-day comment period. A final presentation will be made by the Public Arts Commission to City Council on June 27 for approval to proceed. It’s hoped that the project will be funded in about one year.


Also on Monday, council members approved a bid in the amount of $400,274,20 from Structural Specialties Inc. of Hutchinson for the Olson Park Pedestrian Bridge project. Work will include a 130 feet by 8 feet steel structured bridge, appropriate bridge foundations, concrete sidewalks connecting to the trail and removal of the existing bridge. A proposal to compensate Short Elliot Hendrickson a sum of $43,751 for professional services related to the project was also approved.


In another matter, the council hosted a public hearing Monday on a proposed rental ordinance that would represent a text amendment to a section of city code that establishes minimum standards for rental units, inspections of rental units and enforcement mechanisms.


The proposed amendment would make some changes to the rate of inspections, provide for administrative fines and make some clean-up changes to the existing code. The amendment, said City Planner Matt Selof, involves “basically everything that make the place livable and safe for the occupant.”


Selof presented the ordinance and took about 15 minutes of questions from council members and Mayor Mike Kuhle. The first of three required readings was then approved.


Additionally, the council approved a proposed fee structure from JBS Fieldhouse staff for the use of the fieldhouse. Included will be the following daily fees: age 6 and under, free; ages 7-12, $2; and ages 13 and over, $5. Rental rates include rental of half the field, $60; half hour of batting cage, $10; meeting room for one hour, $15; and mezzanine for one hour, $30. JBS Fieldhouse staff anticipates that they will be adjusting those fees in the future.


Action was also taken to award the contract for the 2022 street reconstruction and overlay project to the sole bidder on the work, Duininck Inc, of Prinsburg, in the amount of $1,551,080.75. The bid was above the engineer’s estimate by $276,112.82. City engineer Stephen Schnieder noted that the amount of the Duininck bid is reflective of the increased bid prices due to the current economic situation. There’s no indication that bid prices will be any lower if rebid this year, he added.


Council members also approved two separate donations to the Worthington Police Department. Jeanine and Marv Spomer donated $500 to benefit police programs; the funds will be used to purchase items such as books, pencils and sporting equipment the officers can utilize and distribute while interacting with local youths. Additionally, Scott Altman donated $50 to the Worthington Police Department to benefit the city pound.






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