News

Willmar City Council open to exploring Willmar 10’s city hall proposal

October 20, 2020

Willmar City Council open to exploring Willmar 10’s city hall proposal
The Willmar 10 Investment Group presented their idea to the Willmar City Council about where a new city hall and community center could go. The local group of investors wants to purchase the old JCPenney location in Uptown Willmar and remodel it into a combined city hall and community center. The City Council gave its permission for city staff to work with the Willmar 10 group in answering several questions about the proposal, including just how much it would cost and how the city would finance it. Read

Expanded Business Criteria for Additional $500,000 in CARES Act Relief Funds for EDC CARES Pandemic Relief Grant Program

October 12, 2020

Expanded Business Criteria for Additional $500,000 in CARES Act Relief Funds for EDC CARES Pandemic Relief Grant Program
Effective immediately, Kandiyohi County businesses that have been in operation since January 1, 2020 and can show at least a 20% loss in revenue in the first part of the year can now apply. “The CPR planning team approved adjusting the required revenue loss down from 25% to 20%. Several businesses applied that were just under the 25% threshold. This additional funding means we can re-connect with those businesses, as well as continue to get the word out to all businesses and nonprofits,” said

Willmar creates a Renaissance Zone

October 5, 2020

Willmar creates a Renaissance Zone
The City of Willmar is interested in creating the conditions for a strong and vibrant downtown area. To that end on May 4, 2020 the Willmar City Council adopted the Renaissance Zone, which is a new zoning overlay district encompassing the Central Business District and adjacent areas. The new Willmar Renaissance Zone  is a 5-year pilot program intended to encourage investment, job creation, development, creativity and vibrancy in the designated area. This district will offer greater flexibility relative

Partnerships Result in Poultry Certification Courses

October 5, 2020

Partnerships Result in Poultry Certification Courses
The EDC conducts strategic planning each year to set priority issues and focus the work of its committees and staff. The information we get from local businesses is imperative in our planning process. For the last three years we have had as one of our priorities, efforts to recruit, retain and train workforce for the area. We have worked on that goal in many ways, including the creation of a video to show the fun, food and other amenities available in our area. The video is available to businesses

Efforts to secure REAL broadband continue

October 5, 2020

Efforts to secure REAL broadband continue
Many rural Kandiyohi County residents still remain without access to high-speed broadband and the many benefits that come from having such access. The situation has never been more apparent than in the past months of social distancing, working from home and distance learning.    The Broadband and Advanced Technology Committee of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission (EDC) is a committee focused on securing high-speed broadband for all people in our county. The

Supporting our businesses during the pandemic

October 5, 2020

Supporting our businesses during the pandemic
The EDC has been actively assisting businesses throughout Kandiyohi County since the pandemic emergency was declared in mid-March of this year.  First, it created the COVID-19 Business Assistance Loan (COBAL)  Program that provided up to $5,000 in zero percent loans to affected businesses. Second, in May, the EDC provided small grants of $325 to all 88 home childcare providers in the County.  Third, with the help of funding from the Southwest Initiative Foundation, it created the Immigrant Business

More than $2 million in COVID-19 relief awarded to businesses and nonprofits in Kandiyohi County

September 12, 2020

More than $2 million in COVID-19 relief awarded to businesses and nonprofits in Kandiyohi County
WILLMAR—When you add up all the money that has so far been awarded to small businesses and nonprofits through coronavirus relief programs run by the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission, the total is more than $2 million. Since March the EDC has established a handful of grant or loan programs focused on providing financial relief to businesses in the county hit hard by economic impacts tied to the virus outbreak. The programs include the CARES Pandemic Relief Program,

Willmar Poultry Group celebrates 75 years

September 5, 2020

Willmar Poultry Group celebrates 75 years
WILLMAR—Willmar Poultry Group is celebrating 75 years in business, according to a news release from the company. Originally started as the Willmar Poultry & Egg Company by Albert Huisinga, Herman Nelson and Albin Norling on July 25, 1945, with the purchase of an old livestock pavilion, the business, most well-known as Willmar Poultry Company, has grown from one local company with three employees to a group of eight affiliated companies with 1,600 employees spanning multiple states and countries. Read

Willmar Wye Highway 12 bridge work moving forward

August 28, 2020

Willmar Wye Highway 12 bridge work moving forward
WILLMAR—Thanks to perfect weather last week, the concrete pour for the deck of the new Highway 12 bridge in Willmar was completed last week, according to the weekly Willmar Wye construction update from the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Progress also continues on the Minnesota Highway 40 bridge, with pier construction concluding. Next up will be construction of the Highway 40 bridge abutments. Read the full article at the West Central Tribune.

New Head Start program facility opens in Willmar

August 28, 2020

New Head Start program facility opens in Willmar
WILLMAR—Willmar’s Bright Light Head Start program opened its doors Wednesday at its new facility located along Highway 71 thanks to the efforts of United Community Action Partnership and the Kandiyohi Power Cooperative. The organizations worked together to create a larger and much needed space for Head Start, which is an early childhood education program. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held along with tours of the new building. The space, which underwent many renovations to turn it into an