Worthington City Council welcomes new police officers

Worthington City Council welcomes new police officers

WORTHINGTON — The Worthington City Council welcomed two new members to the local police department during its Monday night meeting.

Officers Destini Miller and Siddney Kounlabout took their official oaths as officers of the Worthington Police Department before the council. Miller is originally from South Dakota, while Kounlabout grew up in the Worthington area.

Both joined the WPD last September, and have been working full-time with the police department, having graduated from Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Worthington campus, with degrees in law enforcement.

“That’s very nice to see for our community, that we have people coming out of that program and being able to work and protect us right here,” said councilman Chad Cummings, before offering his thanks to Worthington’s newest officers.

Also during Monday night’s meeting, the council approved plans to restore the racquetball courts at the Center for Active Living, following significant water damage last year. Work will include design, bidding and construction administration services for a projected lump sum fee of $15,800. The repairs are intended to fully restore both courts to their original condition, as covered by the city’s insurance.

However, the council also heard a proposal to modify one of the racquetball courts, following restoration, into a meeting room.

“The racquetball courts are rarely used and, to be honest, it isn’t really a safe sport for our seniors,” said CAL Director Jill Cuperus, adding that the CAL has received nearly $200,000 to expand programming. “Now, we really need space to implement the planning.”

The modified room would allow for conversion back to a fully functional racquetball court, should the need arise, but would give CAL staff extra space to address some of the “unmet social and academic needs” of members, Cuperus shared.

The modifications include carpeted flooring over the newly installed court surface, installation of acoustical wall panels and ceiling system, lighting, and modified HVAC systems. The proposal by Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc. includes design, bidding and construction administration services for a lump sum fee of $14,800.

The council approved both the restoration and modification proposals.

The execution of a Minnesota Department of Transportation grant to replace the roof on the Worthington Municipal Airport Maintenance Hangar was also approved Monday night.

The city contracted with Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc. for the design of the roofing project at the cost of $13,300. The grant will pay for 70% of this proposal, equaling $9,310, leaving the $3,990 as the local share of the cost. Pending the State of Minnesota’s execution of the grant, design services will start immediately.

In other news, the council:

  • Approved an application to Worthington’s residential property tax abatement program for a condominium to be built on South Shore Drive. 
  • Accepted a $50 donation from Cynthia Russell to the Worthington Police Department. The money will go toward the purchase of public safety equipment. 
  • Approved applications seeking exemption for lawful gambling for The WhiteTails Unlimited Southwest MN Deer Camp Chapter, St. Mary’s Church, and the Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation, Inc. 
  • Approved use of The Center for Active Living to be used for congregate dining and home-delivered meals service for area seniors for 2023. Lutheran Social Services provides the meals.
  • Added Michelle Ridd, Assistant Finance Director, as an additional signer for city checking and investment accounts. 
  • Appointed the mayor, city clerk and finance director as signatories for the city of Worthington. 
  • Authorized city staff to advertise for proposals as the city seeks professional services to complete a new city-wide comprehensive plan. The city’s last full comprehensive plan update was adopted in 2004. It has received minor amendments during the last 18 years. Staff anticipate the project will be completed in May 2024, but that is subject to change. 
  • Authorized the advertisement for bids for the Worthington Municipal Liquor store parking lot, following the approval of design plans. A new concrete parking lot with improved traffic flow is proposed. 
  • Reviewed the position guidelines and core responsibilities of the city accountant position following a resignation. Staff recommended the position be reclassified as accounting clerk. Council approved the new guidelines and authorized the advertisement of the new position. 

Emma McNamee joined The Globe team in October 2021 as a reporter covering Crime & Courts, Politics, and the City beats. Born and raised in Duluth, Minn., McNamee left her hometown to attend school in Chicago at Columbia College. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Multimedia Journalism, with a concentration in News & Feature Writing and a minor in Creative Writing.