News

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

Class project offers job experience: CCS fifth-graders learn future lessons working at Pizza Ranch

November 25, 2017

Class project offers job experience: CCS fifth-graders learn future lessons working at Pizza Ranch
WILLMAR—The Pizza Ranch dining room buzzed with activity Wednesday as a small crowd of new workers learned about their new jobs. It didn’t take long before the excited members of Community Christian School’s fifth-grade class had settled down to work. As part of a class project at the Willmar school, the students had written their resumes and sent them to Pizza Ranch manager Jeff Keller to apply for jobs. He interviewed them a week ago and hired them to work there at lunchtime Wednesday. The

Kandiyohi County Board approves local option sales tax

November 22, 2017

Kandiyohi County Board approves local option sales tax
WILLMAR—After months of study, discussion and input from the public, the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 Tuesday to proceed with a local option sales tax to fund designated transportation projects. The tax will generate an estimated $2.7 million a year that will be used to pay for four projects totaling $13 million over four and a half years. Consumers will start to see the half-cent local tax when it takes effect April 1 of next year. The County Commissioners said Tuesday that