News

Willmar’s Renaissance Zone to encourage investment is a go after council approval

May 20, 2020

Willmar’s Renaissance Zone to encourage investment is a go after council approval
WILLMAR — The Renaissance has arrived in downtown Willmar. With the Willmar City Council approval of the zoning ordinance establishing the Renaissance Zone District, economic development professionals hope it will usher in an era of rebirth for the zone, including new commercial and residential projects. “We are hoping this new overlay will encourage investment and activity in the area,” said Dave Ramstad, Willmar Planning and Development director, at the May 4 meeting of the Willmar

Not business as usual

May 15, 2020

Not business as usual
Businesses in the region that have been shuttered for weeks by the pandemic are gearing up to reopen their doors, but they don’t expect things will suddenly be back to normal Monday morning. To say that the owners of Mill Pond Mercantile in New London are eager to reopen their gift and home decor shop would be an understatement. “I cannot tell you how thrilled and relieved we are,” said Ginny Knapp, who owns the popular store with co-owner Anita Stulen. “This is our livelihood. This is how

New grant program to offer immigrant businesses some COVID relief in Kandiyohi County

May 15, 2020

New grant program to offer immigrant businesses some COVID relief in Kandiyohi County
WILLMAR — The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission, along with other local and regional partners, continues to look for new ways to help businesses weather the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. “We are using the resources we have to try to address some of the emergency funding,” said Aaron Backman, EDC executive director. A new grant program, this one geared toward new immigrant businesses in Kandiyohi County, was approved by the EDC Joint Operations Board

Bethesda will begin weekly testing of all employees and residents for COVID-19

May 13, 2020

Bethesda will begin weekly testing of all employees and residents for COVID-19
WILLMAR—In a bold response to combating COVID-19, Bethesda will begin on-site and on-demand weekly testing of all employees, residents and tenants throughout the organization’s skilled nursing and congregate housing facilities in Willmar and Olivia. The goal is to start testing all employees Friday. Starting next week, tests will be available for all tenants and residents. In all, Bethesda could test 1,000 individuals every week. They will cover any out-of-pocket costs associated with the testing. “At

Buhler to halt Farm King manufacturing at Fargo

May 11, 2020

Buhler to halt Farm King manufacturing at Fargo
Work to move to company’s Minnesota plant Farm equipment maker Buhler Industries plans to gather its U.S. manufacturing work into one plant in Minnesota this summer and halt operations at nearby Fargo, N.D. The Winnipeg company, whose product lines include Versatile tractors and sprayers and Farm King application, tillage and hay equipment, said Monday it’s “optimizing” its U.S. production to boost efficiency and cut overhead costs at its factory at Willmar, Minn., about 140 km west of

Kandiyohi County to go to single-sort recycling

May 5, 2020

Kandiyohi County to go to single-sort recycling
WILLMAR—After nearly 30 years of running its own multi-sort recycling program, Kandiyohi County is moving to a single-sort system, which will be run and operated by West Central Sanitation. “I am very, very pleased with this proposal and the ability to have curbside pickup for everybody in the county,” said Kandiyohi County Commissioner Roger Imdieke. The County Board unanimously approved the proposal at Tuesday’s meeting. While moving to a single-sort system had been a topic

Jennie-O Turkey Store closing both Willmar plants due to COVID-19

April 26, 2020

Jennie-O Turkey Store closing both Willmar plants due to COVID-19
WILLMAR — Jennie-O Turkey Store has decided to temporarily close both of its Willmar production facilities, located on Willmar Avenue and Benson Avenue, to undergo facility-wide cleaning and to slow the spread of the COVID-19 disease. The announcement came Friday afternoon in a news release from the company. Operations will wind down through the weekend, the release said. There is no timeline yet for reopening of the facilities. The company confirmed earlier this week that employees had come

Kandiyohi County day cares to receive help from EDC

April 26, 2020

Kandiyohi County day cares to receive help from EDC
WILLMAR — Home-based child care providers are another segment of the overall economy suffering during the coronavirus shutdown. “They have not been closed by the governor, but they are facing some challenging times. They are operating at about 50 percent capacity right now,” said Aaron Backman, executive director of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission. To assist these crucial businesses, who could be providing care for the children of essential

Willmar Wye construction to restart next week

April 20, 2020

Willmar Wye construction to restart next week
WILLMAR—As warmer weather returns, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Hoffmann Group, contractor for the project, are getting ready to restart work on the Willmar Wye railroad bypass project on the west side of Willmar. According to a project update from MnDOT, crews will begin construction next week on the new U.S. Highway 12 bridge, which will go over the rail line to be constructed by BNSF Railway. Also next week, grading will be prepared for sidewalk and median concrete at the

Jennie-O hopes preventive actions will protect workers and plant from COVID-19

April 16, 2020

Jennie-O hopes preventive actions will protect workers and plant from COVID-19
WILLMAR — Officials at Jennie-O Turkey Store in Willmar say they are optimistic extra efforts they are implementing to protect employees from the coronavirus could prevent the type of outbreak that has temporarily shut down a large pork processing facility in South Dakota. Starting next week, employees at the Jennie-O processing plants will have their temperatures taken when reporting to work. Fever is one of the most common symptoms of the COVID-19 respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. That