News

Willmar council begins discussion on new city hall

January 18, 2018

Willmar council begins discussion on new city hall
WILLMAR—One of the major projects in the 2018 capital budget for the city of Willmar is a new city hall to replace the current building on Sixth Street Southwest. The 2018 capital plan has $8.5 million for a new city hall, though no actual money has been set aside. There has been discussion about bonding or even using city reserves to pay for it. “All of this is very preliminary. We can’t make a decision on this tonight,” said Councilor Ron Christianson during Tuesday’s

Willmar Civic Center ice for three? Refrigeration system with capacity for expansion is recommended

January 10, 2018

Willmar Civic Center ice for three? Refrigeration system with capacity for expansion is recommended
WILLMAR—One of the more pressing projects on Willmar’s to-do list has been the refrigeration system at the Willmar Civic Center. The Willmar City Council approved $2.6 million in the 2018 capital improvement project for a new system to create ice for the two arenas, but no firm decisions have been made on how to fund the project or what kind of system will be installed. “What we need to do tonight is have a discussion on the path we are going to take on the refrigeration project,”

Bonding committee hears ‘the ask’: Willmar area officials request funds for roads, college maintenance projects

January 9, 2018

Bonding committee hears ‘the ask’: Willmar area officials request funds for roads, college maintenance projects
WILLMAR—With millions of state bonding money on the line when the Legislature reconvenes next month, local officials made the case Monday that several area projects should be funded. Members of the Senate Capital Investment Committee began a 12-day tour of the state Monday to hear pitches for projects seeking state funding. During an hour-long stop at Ridgewater College in Willmar, committee members heard about the nuts and bolts of two major road and bridge projects and maintenance projects at

Green Lake jewels to be used in St. Paul ice castle

January 3, 2018

Green Lake jewels to be used in St. Paul ice castle
SPICER—Wearing ice-covered boots and wiping away icicles from beards and noses, a crew of about 40 people were busy Wednesday harvesting massive ice blocks from Green Lake. Prized for the crystal-clear ice that reflects a blue hue as the sun filters through the bitter cold air, the 573-pound blocks of Green Lake ice will be the jewels used to build a 70-foot-tall ice castle in St. Paul for the Winter Carnival. St. Paul’s annual winter celebration will be extended an extra week this year—from

Highlighting Diversity in Kandiyohi County

December 6, 2017

Highlighting Diversity in Kandiyohi County
Willmar is a diverse community with a large Latino and Somali/East African population that is increasingly represented in the business world.  Members of these communities own and operate approximately 12% of businesses in Willmar, as evidenced by a recent Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Survey of diverse businesses undertaken by the EDC. Last fall, the Southwest Initiative Foundation awarded a grant to the EDC to design and implement a BRE program for diverse businesses in the Willmar area.

Kandiyohi County Featured in Business In Focus Magazine

December 6, 2017

Kandiyohi County Featured in Business In Focus Magazine
“A dynamic county with much to offer existing and prospective businesses” is the summary used by contributing writer Gina Stephens to describe the Willmar area in a six-page article featured in the September 2017 publication of Business in Focus magazine. Providing a comprehensive view of North American business, the magazine offers monthly online and print editions that bring together the country’s top businesses and potential clients.   Business in Focus is a national publication with

EDC Hosts Highway 23 Transportation Rally

December 6, 2017

EDC Hosts Highway 23 Transportation Rally
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

Little Crow Country Club Continues to Transform

December 6, 2017

Little Crow Country Club Continues to Transform
The GrandStay Hotel & Event Center Project at Little Crow Country Club is officially underway!   Plans for the 51-room hotel, 300-seat event center, 75-seat restaurant and new Little Crow Country Club clubhouse finalized in early 2017; however, it took longer than initially envisioned to complete the $2.35 million equity drive for the project. Once the funding came together in July, the project moved ahead quickly. Architectural plans finalized during the summer, loan closing occurred in early

15th Street Affordable Flats Approved by MN Housing Finance Agency

December 6, 2017

15th Street Affordable Flats Approved by MN Housing Finance Agency
MHFA Approves $15.8 million in Affordable Housing for Willmar On October 19, 2017, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency announced it approved funding for two multi-family affordable housing projects in Willmar—15th Street Flats and Hanson Apartments. The former is a $9.3 million project that involves new construction of a building with 47 rental units on the southeast side of Willmar. The latter is a $6.5 million project that includes acquisition and rehabilitation of 56 rental units in two buildings

West Central Steel’s growth continues: Latest expansion to house parts production

November 28, 2017

West Central Steel’s growth continues: Latest expansion to house parts production
WILLMAR—West Central Steel of Willmar is expanding for the ninth time in its nearly 40-year history, bringing more services to its customers and more jobs to the region. “It has been quite a project,” said Jeff Pattison, president of West Central Steel. The latest project has been in planning for several years, but officially kicked off in fall 2016, when the company obtained over five acres of land next to its current location on U.S. Highway 12 near the Willmar Industrial Park. This