News

EDC provides CPR to small businesses and nonprofits hurt by pandemic shutdown

July 29, 2020

EDC provides CPR to small businesses and nonprofits hurt by pandemic shutdown
WILLMAR—The coronavirus pandemic, which has sickened millions and killed thousands has also had a devastating impact on small businesses and nonprofits. Even now, as some states and cities begin to reopen, nothing is back to normal. In an effort to help those still struggling to hold on, the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission have created the CARES Pandemic Relief Grant program, aptly known as CPR. “We are trying to keep businesses alive,” said Aaron

Ziegler CAT opens new facility in Willmar

July 25, 2020

Ziegler CAT opens new facility in Willmar
WILLMAR—Ziegler CAT opened its new facility in Willmar on July 20, according to a Ziegler CAT news release. Located at 4600 Highway 71 S., the two-story facility features a retail showroom, a 25,000-square-foot shop, warehouses, offices, and a 7,800-square-foot cold-storage building. The shops include two bridge cranes, lube systems, a hose bench, and a wash bay. An on-site Cat solar array will provide clean, cost-effective, renewable electricity to the new facility. Read more at West Central Tribune

Uptown Willmar hopes to convey a positive vibe at what used to be Kandi Mall

July 25, 2020

Uptown Willmar hopes to convey a positive vibe at what used to be Kandi Mall
WILLMAR — The days of the Kandi Mall are over but it is just the beginning for Uptown Willmar. According to Andy Weiner, president of RockStep Capital who have owned the Willmar shopping hub on South First Street since 2015, the new name is an illustration of the transition the Kandi Mall and others like it are undergoing in the ever-changing retail landscape. The mall first opened in 1973. Read more at West Central Tribune

Ridgewater College and agriculture education partners receive $584,000 grant to train ag technicians

July 24, 2020

Ridgewater College and agriculture education partners receive $584,000 grant to train ag technicians
WILLMAR—Ridgewater College and agriculture partners received a $584,000 National Science Foundation grant to address a need for more agriculture technicians. The grant will fund the program Technical Applications in Agriculture which will educate and qualify high school students as agriculture technicians. “We have the second longest running precision agriculture program in the country, along with our newly created Agriculture Power and Equipment Technician program, so this partnership is a natural

Willmar Wye road construction reaches milestone

July 22, 2020

Willmar Wye road construction reaches milestone
WILLMAR—In just over 365 days, the site of what will become the Willmar Rail Connector and Industrial Access Project, or the Willmar Wye, went from farm fields and open spaces to an active construction site where one can already find most of the realigned—but unpaved—U.S. Highway 12 and the beginnings of two new highway bridges on Highway 12 and Minnesota Highway 40. “It has been going fairly well,” said Paul Rasmussen, project manager from the Minnesota Department of Transportation

EDC on board to take lead on CARES Act business relief

July 13, 2020

EDC on board to take lead on CARES Act business relief
WILLMAR—The $7.6 million Kandiyohi County, Willmar and most of the other cities and townships in the county received in total from Minnesota through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act is both an opportunity and a challenge. An opportunity because it is much-needed funding for local units of government to meet a pandemic no one expected. It is a challenge because the amount of money, the reporting requirements attached to it and short time frame could be too much for some

Kandiyohi County Board throws support behind locally grown shrimp

July 11, 2020

Kandiyohi County Board throws support behind locally grown shrimp
WILLMAR—If Paul Damhof is able to secure the capital he needs to complete a $10 million expansion of his saltwater shrimp farm near Blomkest, he said he believes he would be able to produce 250,000 pounds of Pacific white shrimp a year. Pretty impressive considering the Pacific Ocean is more than 2,000 miles away. “We are raising shrimp in salt water,” Damhof said. “All we are doing is mimicking the ocean water and raising saltwater shrimp right here in Minnesota.” Damhof

Simply Shrimp seeks state funds for expansion

June 27, 2020

Simply Shrimp seeks state funds for expansion
For aquaculture farmer Paul Damhof, putting up the “sold out” placard along his roadside billboard has become almost as much of a daily chore as checking the pH levels of his shrimp tanks. With customers across a 150-mile radius and few industry competitors to contend with, Blomkest shrimp farm Simply Shrimp LLC continues with meeting demand. “On weekends, holidays, it’s nothing to have 20, 30, 40 people driving up on the yard, “Damhof said. “It’s gone as soon as we get (shrimp) up

New poultry training program begins this fall at Ridgewater College and University of Minnesota

June 27, 2020

New poultry training program begins this fall at Ridgewater College and University of Minnesota
WILLMAR—A unique poultry education program created by the University of Minnesota, Ridgewater College in Willmar and industry leaders will be launched this fall. The multi-tiered program includes a series of courses at Ridgewater and the U of M that are designed to provide training to undergraduates and graduate students as well as those already working in the poultry industry. It’s hoped the program will help create a better-educated workforce, ranging from on-the-farm employees to those who

New Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Services hospital opens in Willmar

June 24, 2020

New Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Services hospital opens in Willmar
WILLMAR—Staff and patients are settling into the new children’s psychiatric hospital that opened earlier this month in Willmar. The Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Services hospital is the only state-owned and -operated facility of its type in Minnesota. The hospital is designed for Minnesota children 4 to 18 years of age who have complex mental illness and behavioral disorders that are so severe the children cannot be treated in their home communities. Construction of the $10 million,