Worthington City Council approves park/library ballot question

WORTHINGTON – The Worthington City Council Thursday morning approved a ballot question for the November election that would ask citizens to okay the transfer of the old pool site from the city to Nobles County for use as a new library site. The land was gifted to the city by the E.O Olson Trust.

Because of city charter restrictions, any use of the land other than for park use must go to a public vote.

The property transfer would include the existing fish rearing ponds because of impervious surface restrictions, but the ponds would still be protected.

Stipulations would be built into the transfer to state the land could only be used for a library, and would have a limit on the length of time given to move forward with the project. It would also state if the property ceased to be a library site, ownership of the land would revert back to the city.

The term ‘transfer’ leaves the council open to decide between a lease or sale of the property.

The council approved the measure on a 3 to 2 vote after letting several motions die for a lack of a second. Councilman Ron Wood said he was against the sale of the land, stating putting the library in particular site is a bad decision.

“Our comprehensive plan maintains that we maintain our downtown core,” Wood said. “We have been diligent keepers of that.”

Wood said he’s been looking at the footprint of the library plan, and having entered an electronic age, a library for 2020 needs to be built, not one for the 1980s. If it must be moved, he said, the best possible sites would be the elementary school or the college. If young people are the ones using the library, he said, why not put it in a place that associates with them.

“I will support a library in a heck of a lot of places, but I have trouble supporting it there,” he said.


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