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.
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
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
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.
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
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