On March 29, 2018, the EDC held its annual planning retreat at the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center near Spicer. The 19 attendees included board members, committee chairs, EDC staff, and Bruce Miles, the facilitator from Big River Group. Among the goals of this year’s planning session was it review successes and issues, identify near-term and long-term priorities, and benchmark new priorities. Participants revised the organization’s Vision Statement to the following: To provide economic development leadership creating growth, prosperity, innovation and international competitiveness to enhance our quality of life.”
Following the EDC’s Planning Retreat, the Joint Operations and Joint Powers Boards in April identified four major priorities that the organization should pursue in the current year: 1) Pursuing funding for Transportation Infrastructure in the Willmar Lakes Area, including completion of the MN Highway 23 four-lane corridor between Willmar and I-94. 2) Implementing a Diverse Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) Phase II Program. 3) Supporting the designation of downtown Willmar as an Opportunity Zone to encourage private development of commercial and housing projects in the area. 4) Work with partners to increase the number of childcare options available in Kandiyohi County and secure sustainable solutions for existing and new child care providers and centers.