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Council OKs funding for Haack Acres rental housing

The Worthington City Council on Monday approved a letter of funding commitment that will advance the planned development of market rate rental housing on property known as Haack Acres.

Worthington City Administrator Steve Robinson reminded the council during the meeting that addressing the marketing rate rental housing shortage has been a priority for several years.

"A recent survey of four newer market rate rental projects built between 1995 and 2015 found zero vacancy and most reported having waiting lists," Robinson said. "The scarcity of rental housing poses a significant obstacle to attracting and retaining a talented work force; crucial to the continued growth and success of our flourishing and robust local economy."

In December 2022, city council members transferred unobligated surplus funds from Tax Increment District No. 7 to the Spending Plan and targeted those funds to address the tightly constrained market rate rental housing market.

Representatives of Apollo Development, along with local investors, have proposed a multi-story, 51-unit apartment building with one and two-bedroom units and attached garages west of the city's puppy park on First Avenue Southwest. With Monday's council action, the city will provide $1 million from the Spending Plan to offset unfavorable market conditions that are prevalent throughout Greater Minnesota.

Also Monday, a required public hearing to allow comment on the city's storm water pollution prevention plan was part of the council meeting.

The city of Worthington is a regulated city under phase II of the federal program to reduce pollution from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s). Regulated cities need to be covered under a statewide National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. Requirements include implementation of a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan, which includes six mandatory minimum control measures – among them public involvement and participation.

In a separate matter Monday, council members accepted a bid of $214,042 from Laraway Roofing Inc. replacement of the terminal building roof and heating unit at the Worthington Municipal Airport.

The council had entered into an agreement back in February with Short Elliott Hendrickson to do design work for the project. There were four bidders on the project, and one of those bids was withdrawn. Of the remaining three bids. Laraway Roofing's was the lowest.

In other action, the council – meeting as the Economic Development Authority prior to the council meeting – approved the sale of property within the Third Addition of Worthington Bio Science Industrial Park to TRA Properties, LLC (New Tec). The company plans to construct a 26,000-square-foot showroom, sales and repair facility to permanently house the company's local operations.

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