News

EDC tallies $3.3M in local business relief grants

November 14, 2020

EDC tallies $3.3M in local business relief grants
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, Kandiyohi County continue to give relief to local businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19

November 9, 2020

Willmar, Kandiyohi County continue to give relief to local businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19
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

Willmar celebrates five-year effort to build healthy community

October 31, 2020

Willmar celebrates five-year effort to build healthy community
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

Snow slows downs U.S. Highway 12 completion in Willmar

October 27, 2020

Snow slows downs U.S. Highway 12 completion in Willmar
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

Jennie-O float planned for Macy’s Thanksgiving parade this year

October 24, 2020

Jennie-O float planned for Macy’s Thanksgiving parade this year
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.

Take your internet speed for a test drive

October 22, 2020

Take your internet speed for a test drive
WILLMAR—One of the lessons learned so far during this pandemic is how important internet accessibility is, especially when so much of life is being done from home. Remote work, distance learning and entertainment have all jumped online and those households with slow internet, or in some cases no access at all, have found themselves struggling to keep up and stay connected. “This is important, people need it to work from home, connect with family members, do school work,” said Connie

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

Highway 23 gap projects moving forward

October 19, 2020

Highway 23 gap projects moving forward
WILLMAR—Progress continues to be made to construct the four-lane “gaps” on Minnesota Highway 23 between New London and Richmond ahead of the original schedule. Plans are on track to construct the south and north gaps in a three-year span, from 2022 through 2024, Jon Huseby, District 8 engineer, Minnesota Department of Transportation, told members of the Area Transportation Partnership Oct. 9. Read the full article by the West Central Tribune.

‘Gaps,’ intersection safety among issues emerging in freight study

October 19, 2020

‘Gaps,’ intersection safety among issues emerging in freight study
WILLMAR—Some familiar issues are emerging as the District 8 office of the Minnesota Department of Transportation looks at how to improve intermodal freight movement in the southwest counties of the state. Safety is chief among them: The district has a high rate of severe accidents at its high-traffic intersections, Lindsey Bruer, planning director for District 8, told members of the district’s Area Transportation Partnership at its Oct. 9 meeting. She said the crash record was consistently

State bonding bill includes funding for youth facilities in Willmar

October 17, 2020

State bonding bill includes funding for youth facilities in Willmar
WILLMAR — It took nearly a year, but the 2020 state bonding bill finally found its way to Gov. Tim Walz’s desk this week. Following passage in both the state House of Representatives and the Senate, Walz has indicated he will sign the $1.9 billion infrastructure bill into law. Included in the package is funding for projects at both Prairie Lakes Youth Programs and the brand new Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Services facilities in Willmar. Read the full article by the West Central