The regional economic hub of Southwestern Minnesota, the City of Worthington is nestled in the Southwest corner of Minnesota at the intersection of Interstate 90 and Minnesota State Highway 60. Having a strong agricultural presence from row crops to various kinds of livestock, Worthington has attracted large corporations involved in processing, research, and shipping to locate to the community. Worthington is home to research companies that are actively discovering new technologies in the bio-science field, as well as several manufacturing companies that are involved in building homes, commercial buildings and plastic products. The City of Worthington has 130 acres of land available along Interstate 90 for the addition of any bio-science, commercial, or industrial businesses.
Worthington has an excellent school system along with the Minnesota West Community & Technical College, two clinics and a progressive, growing hospital. And don't forget the wide variety of recreation activities that include Lake Okabena, bike paths, nineteen city parks, soccer fields, hockey arena, tennis courts, and a disc golf course. There is also a restored and recently remodeled art deco War Memorial Auditorium that offers a great variety of shows, plus the many festivals that our city hosts throughout the year.
Over 12,500 residents live in this progressive community. One of Worthington's greatest natural community assets is 880-acre Lake Okabena located in the center of the city and surrounded by numerous parks and recreation areas. A diverse population, excellent schools and health care facilities, 17 churches, and an abundance of outdoor recreation and family activities make Worthington a great place to live.
The city boasts a healthy retail sector with some of the best shopping in the area with over 30 restaurants, many representing foods from several ethnic cultures. The city is home to JBS Swift and Company, an international company that employs 2,400 workers. Manufacturing companies include Bedford Industries, a worldwide leader in the packaging industry with 269 employees; Highland Manufacturing, an industry leader in manufactured housing with 150 employees; and, Marck Animal Health, a manufacturer of vaccines with 60 plus employees. The city recently developed a Bio-Science Industrial Park, which features a Bio-Science Spec Building, and is home to Prairie Holdings Group, a regional agricultural bio-science employer of approximately 400 employees. It also purchased 93 acres in 2008 for a "green" commercial development with Bedford Technology as its first new business. Other prominent employers include Worthington Independent School District No. 518 with 470 employees and Sanford Medical Group Hospital-Worthington with 300 employees.
The Worthington Municipal Airport features two runways and a recently renovated terminal building. Driving time to the Twin Cities (northeast) and Omaha, Nebraska (south) is approximately three hours, Sioux Falls, South Dakota one hour, and a visit to the Iowa Lakes area is about 45 minutes away. New four lane construction of Highway 60 in Iowa allows for all four lane traffic to Omaha, Nebraska, with construction moving forward to link four lane traffic to southwest Minneapolis metro area.
Worthington is proudly known as the City of Brotherhood for an award received in 1958 for supplying emergency aid to war torn Crailsheim, Germany. Since the years following World War II, the City of Worthington has maintained a camaraderie with the people of Crailsheim and participates in an annual student exchange program.
Education and Health Care
School District 518 serves 2,200 students and is comprised of an elementary school, middle school and high school. Two parochial schools are located in the community. St. Mary's Catholic school serves students K-6, and Worthington Christian serves students K-8. Minnesota West Community and Technical College is located on 63 acres near the shore of Lake Okabena and offers students the opportunity for two-year associates degrees. Over 1100 full-time and part-time students attended the Worthington Campus last year.
The hospital is a 66 bed general acute facility that is staffed by a multi-specialty medical staff. It recently added a $5 million oncology/radiation center. Built by the City of Worthington in 1951, the hospital was recently sold to Sanford Health Systems, opening opportunities for the expansion of health care in Worthington. New community improvements will also be made possible by utilization of the sale proceeds of $21 million. In addition, the local health care foundation received approximately $5 million from the sale. The hospital serves patients from a large area of southwest Minnesota and northwest Iowa. The Worthington Specialty Clinic is owned and operated by Avera Hospital of Sioux Falls with 16 physicians providing primary and secondary care in general health and specialty clinic settings.
The Sanford Worthington Clinic is staffed by physicians and nurse practitioners who specialize in family practice. Specialized services include on-site laboratory testing, mammography and radiology. On-site specialty physicians, outreach includes cardiology, OB/GYN, general surgery, rehab medicine and nephrology. The clinic is a member of the Sanford Hospitals & Health Systems.
Avera Worthington Specialty Clinic is part of the Avera network of health care facilities that provides state-of-the-art medical care to people throughout the region. Touting highly trained physicians, experienced professional staff and access to the entire Avera network of facilities, Avera Worthington Specialy Clinics serves the area with excellence and compassion.
Crossroad Care Center and South Shore Care Center provide nursing home care. Worthington has three assisted living facilities—Golden Horizons, Meadows of Worthington, and Prairie House—and is also home to Sunset Hospice Cottage.
Parks and Recreation
Nearly 30 parks and community facilities provide residents with a variety of recreational opportunities including baseball and softball diamonds in three locations, soccer fields, outdoor tennis, a skateboard park, a hockey arena, and golfing facilities at the Worthington Country Club and the Prairie View Golf Course. A newly created Veteran's Memorial Park has been constructed on the south side of the lake.
Fishing is a popular activity in the many area lakes, with four nearby state parks offering an abundance of outdoor activities with biking, hiking and snowmobile trails. The new $9.5 million YMCA has been constructed, featuring both an indoor pool and an outdoor aquatic center. On Wednesday evenings during the summer months, the Amazing Worthington City Band performs at the band shell at Chautauqua Park, and plays, concerts, musicals, and variety shows are offered throughout most of the year at Memorial Auditorium.
During the 1930s, the owner of the E.O. Olson turkey plant initiated an annual fall festival to offer thanks to area turkey farmers for their patronage and King Turkey Day was initiated. The first festival included a parade and an invitation to political leaders to address the crowd. For years a visit to King Turkey Day in Worthington became an essential for candidates aspiring to higher political office. The list of featured speakers has included Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey and Richard Nixon. Today, events include turkey race competitions drawing spectator crowds of 30,000.
Other community social events include the International Festival, Christmas at Pioneer Village, Worthington Concert Series, Farm and Home Show, Nobles County Fair, Auto Racing, Chamber of Commerce Mixers, Snocross and the Windsurfing Regatta Championship. The Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival have grown to become Minnesota "must attend" summer events.
Police and fire protection is provided by a 24-member police force and 36 trained paid on-call firefighters. The Police Department shares facilities with the Nobles County Sheriff's Office, District Court, Nobles County Jail, and County Attorney's Office at the Prairie Justice Center. The city owns and operates a municipal liquor store, the Prairie View Golf Links and the Memorial Auditorium.
Worthington has a home rule charter form of government with a Mayor and five Council members. The Mayor and Council serve on a part-time basis for four-year staggered terms. Departments include Administrative Services, Engineering, Community Development, Public Safety, Public Works and Airport. Several boards and commissions are appointed by the Mayor and Council. The city has 91 full-time employees, 17 part-time employees and 83 seasonal employees. The 2010 budget is $47 million.