WILLMAR—Kandiyohi County, along with the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission, are again coming to the aid of businesses who have suffered over the last several months due to the coronavirus pandemic. The two parties have created what they are calling the Minnesota Pandemic Relief Grant Program, using funds from the state’s coronavirus relief bill passed in December. Read the full article by the West Central Tribune.
WILLMAR—When downtown and a portion of the U.S. Highway 12 commercial corridor were chosen as Willmar’s lone federal Opportunity Zone, David Ramstad and his staff at city Planning and Development definitely saw an opportunity. While the Opportunity Zone as a tool is geared more toward developers with deep pockets and capital gains, Ramstad wanted Willmar’s zone to become a rebirth for the poorest area of town. Out of those dreams came the Willmar Renaissance Zone and a list of
Now that spending has expired for the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, county officials have assembled an extensive document detailing how they spent their $5.3 million CARES allocation to submit to state and federal officials for auditing purposes. “The intention was really to put [the information] into a snapshot or overview for somebody who was coming from outside of the organization [so they] would be able to review the information and get some really
In response [to] the sudden closure of bars, restaurants and other places of public accommodation by Gov. Tim Walz, who was responding to a steep rise of COVID-19 infections across the state, the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners will be allocating what COVID-19 relief funding it has remaining to subsidize the financial blow dealt to area businesses. On Saturday, the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners called a special meeting in order, and unanimously voted to allocate whatever funds they
WILLMAR—The lack of a robust government response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has often manifested itself in piecemeal restrictions coupled with partial financial help, has left restaurant owners with an uncertain feeling of what the future holds. Gov. Tim Walz this week ordered a four-week restriction, starting at 11:59 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20, on multiple businesses in the state, which includes closing restaurants and bars for indoor and outdoor services but allowing takeout or delivery. “Of
The Coronavirus Relief Program [sic], which provided grant funding—and for some, a lifeline—for hundreds of area businesses and nonprofits hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession, has come to a close. When everything is finalized at the end of the year, Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission (EDC) Director Aaron Backman estimates the EDC will have doled out about $3.5 million in assistance. “That is a significant sum for us, it’s a significant
WILLMAR—When Kandiyohi County and the city of Willmar began planning how to spend the stimulus funds each received from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, both the County Board and City Council were clear where they thought the most relief was needed—small businesses and nonprofits negatively impacted by the pandemic and related shutdown. Each initially transferred at least $1 million of its CARES allocation to the county and city Economic Development Commission which
The people of Willmar, Minn., gathered virtually last week to celebrate five years of real togetherness. The online festivities marked the end of Healthy Together Willmar, a program designed to show that the secret to healthy living isn’t only in the doctor’s office — it’s also at the playground, the library and the coffee shop. The five-year effort was sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, which invested $2 million in health-and community-building activities in the Kandiyohi
WILLMAR—The early arrival of winter, or at least a sneak peek of it, has caused a delay in the completion of the realignment of U.S. Highway 12 on the western edge of Willmar, a part of the Willmar Wye railroad bypass project. According to the weekly wye update released Monday by the Minnesota Department of Transportation District 8, the new Highway 12 probably won’t be open for traffic until mid-November. It had been hoped that portion of the project would be complete by the end of October. Read
WILLMAR—While people are preparing their Thanksgiving Day turkeys next month they’ll also be able to watch a homegrown turkey business on TV during Macy’s annual holiday parade. As part of its 80th anniversary, the Willmar-based Jennie-O Turkey Store will celebrate in a spectacular way by having a float in the 94th annual event on Nov. 26. It’s the first time a turkey brand will be in the parade, according to a Macy’s parade spokesperson. Read the full article by the West Central Tribune.