News

Updates to Robbins Island’s Destination Playground to create an even better place to play

February 7, 2020

Updates to Robbins Island’s Destination Playground to create an even better place to play
WILLMAR—The Robbins Island Destination Playground in Willmar has more than lived up to the expectations of the committee that helped make it a reality. During the summer months it’s not uncommon to see the parking lot full of not only cars but buses, as families, daycares and summer programs all come to enjoy the nearly 20,000-square-foot, fully accessible playground. “I am always looking to see how busy the park is,” said Dave Baker, state representative and member of the Willmar

Eminent domain is an option for Kandiyohi County to obtain land needed for the Willmar Wye

February 6, 2020

Eminent domain is an option for Kandiyohi County to obtain land needed for the Willmar Wye
WILLMAR—While proceeding with eminent domain to acquire just over 36 acres of land needed for the Willmar Wye rail bypass project would be Kandiyohi County’s last resort, the county commissioners approved a resolution to allow that to happen if needed. The resolution to start the eminent domain process passed unanimously at Tuesday’s county board meeting, though the county commissioners hope negotiations prove successful. “It is a place holder, negotiation does not stop,”

Construction on Willmar Middle School addition could begin this summer; open in fall 2021

February 6, 2020

Construction on Willmar Middle School addition could begin this summer; open in fall 2021
WILLMAR—If all moves along smoothly, an addition to Willmar Middle School could open as soon as Sept. 1, 2021. The planned addition would have a larger gym and a small alternative learning center for the school district and a wing for special needs students served by the Southwest West Central Service Cooperative. Willmar School Board approved the framework of a lease agreement with the cooperative this week. The Board approved the document unanimously. Superintendent Jeff Holm said the document

Recently Released Willmar Opportunity Zone Prospectus Promotes Local Investment Potential

January 23, 2020

Recently Released Willmar Opportunity Zone Prospectus Promotes Local Investment Potential
Today, Aaron Backman, Executive Director of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission, announced the release of the Willmar Opportunity Zone Prospectus. The prospectus highlights the designated census tract in Willmar to potential opportunity zone investors and developers. Opportunity Zones are low-income census tracks designated by governors and certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury offering investors a tax-free investment vehicle that creates additional

MnDOT looking to improve Highway 23/7 crossing in Clara City

January 19, 2020

MnDOT looking to improve Highway 23/7 crossing in Clara City
Clara City promotes itself as the “Crossroads on the Prairie,” but there is a downside to the meeting of state Highways 23 and 7 at the south end of the community. Traffic accidents at the intersection of the two highways have long been a concern for emergency responders and law enforcement. At the urging of elected officials in Clara City, Chippewa County, and the Highway 23 Coalition, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is looking for ways to make the intersection a safer one.

City planning for a revival of downtown Willmar with a proposed Renaissance Zone

January 15, 2020

City planning for a revival of downtown Willmar with a proposed Renaissance Zone
WILLMAR—While it is not exactly the dark ages in downtown Willmar, home to many successful businesses and low vacancy rates, there is also plenty of opportunity for development, whether it is upgrading an older building or constructing a project from the ground up. The area is already part of Willmar’s only Opportunity Zone, which provides capital gains tax breaks for those who invest in eligible projects. In an effort to bring even more development to the area and open it up to a larger

A Tiny 3D Printing Company in Central Minnesota Looks to Leave a Mark on the Med-Tech Industry

January 14, 2020

A Tiny 3D Printing Company in Central Minnesota Looks to Leave a Mark on the Med-Tech Industry
A small 3D print shop in central Minnesota is building parts for some of the state’s biggest companies. At DI Labs’ office about two hours west of Minneapolis, machines operate 24 hours a day printing prototypes of parts and thousands of other components for 3M, Toro, and a handful of other companies throughout the Upper Midwest and across the country. The company has built everything from full-sized aircraft fuselage to jigs and fixtures for manufacturing. Last month, DI Labs rounded out its

Willmar couple’s bottle-cap invention is a completely Minnesota product

December 31, 2019

Willmar couple’s bottle-cap invention is a completely Minnesota product
WILLMAR — The spark of inspiration can happen at any time and be caused by the smallest of things. For Steve Vossen and Julie Vossen-Henslin of Willmar, it was the two inches of shampoo left in the bottle after the pump stopped working. “I used to cut the bottle off,” Vossen said. At first, trying to solve the problem was just an idea, nothing concrete. Then the husband and wife team started thinking about it a bit more seriously. “It continued to bother us,” Vossen-Henslin

Christmas ribbon is cut at new day care center in Spicer

December 20, 2019

Christmas ribbon is cut at new day care center in Spicer
SPICER—Brand new, pint-sized tables and chairs, books, cribs and colorful toys were unpacked from boxes Monday, and in a mad dash against the clock, were put in place in the new child care center in Spicer in time for a ribbon-cutting Thursday morning. A collective “whew” could be heard by the volunteers and staff from the Kandiyohi County Area YMCA who have been involved with the fast-paced project to create a new day care facility to help meet a serious shortage of child care in the county. Located

Willmar Opportunity Zone for Investors

December 19, 2019

Willmar Opportunity Zone for Investors
Governor Mark Dayton qualified one area of Willmar, out of the 128 census tracts throughout the state, to be qualified as an Opportunity Zone. An Opportunity Zone designation provides potential investors with tax breaks while funding development or redevelopment of the neighborhood. The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission contracted with Golden Shovel Agency to attract investors. The ultimate goal is to develop or redevelop areas within the designated tract through