In May of 2017 a group of over 30 interested people, including business and government leaders, met in New London to discuss the need to finish the four-lane gaps on Highway 23, formalize the Highway 23 Coalition and elect officers. Since that time, the Coalition has incorporated, established a budget and the full membership elected a nine-member Board of Directors. Currently, there are more than 60 committed members of the Coalition, including 16 units of government, nearly 40 businesses and 6 other organizations. The EDC has helped facilitate these meetings and has been active on the membership drive.
On October 13th, the Coalition held a Transportation Rally at Johnny O’Neil’s in Spicer. Over 80 attendees participated in a luncheon that featured MnDOT Commissioner Charles Zelle, who spoke and responded to questions regarding transportation needs in Minnesota, state funding, the Corridors of Commerce Program, etc. The Coalition was able to arrange bus tours for Commissioner Zelle to view firsthand the south gap (from Paynesville to New London), the proposed TH 23/CSAH 40 intersections in New London, TH23/CSAH5 interchange, the proposed CR55 bridge and Willmar Wye projects on the west side of Willmar.
A special guest at the Coalition’s November 9th Board of Directors meeting was Patrick Weidemann, Capital Planning Program Director for MnDOT in St. Paul. Patrick oversees the Corridors of Commerce Program and made a PowerPoint presentation regarding the scoring criteria for Corridors of Commerce. The Coalition will be submitting both four-lane gaps to MnDOT for funding in January of 2018. For more updates on the Coalition, please check out its website at www.highway23coalition.com.
If you would like to join the Highway 23 Coalition, please contact the EDC at 320-235-7370.