economic development

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

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

Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar EDC seeks investors for redevelopment projects in Willmar Opportunity Zone

October 16, 2019

Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar EDC seeks investors for redevelopment projects in Willmar Opportunity Zone
Kandiyohi County’s only Opportunity Zone, located around downtown Willmar, provides potential investors with tax breaks while funding development or redevelopment of the neighborhood.   The goal of the Opportunity Zone is development or redevelopment, and the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission has contracted with Golden Shovel Agency to attract investors. When former Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton released his list of the 128 census tracts chosen to

Olness breaks ground on new West Central Dental clinic in Willmar

September 25, 2019

Olness breaks ground on new West Central Dental clinic in Willmar
WILLMAR — Ground has been broken on a new dental clinic in Willmar. The new clinic, located on Willmar Avenue Southeast, will be the new home of Dr. Ross Olness of West Central Dental. Terwisscha Construction is building the 5,500-square-foot dental clinic and estimates the facility opening in spring 2020. The clinic will feature 12 operatories and will provide Olness and his associate nearly three times the space at the current Olness Family Dental location in the Skylark Center. The lobby

Local interest in growing and processing hemp: EDC committee will conduct feasibility study for market options

November 21, 2018

Local interest in growing and processing hemp: EDC committee will conduct feasibility study for market options
WILLMAR— With the potential for high per-acre profits there’s increasing interest in growing industrial hemp on west central Minnesota farms. But with limited processing options available, an untested market chain and federal law that still classifies industrial hemp as a controlled substance, there are a few roadblocks yet to overcome. That’s why a feasibility study that could detail the financial risks and gains of growing, processing and marketing industrial hemp is expected to be

Willmar sells land for package sorting, distribution facility

November 15, 2018

Willmar sells land for package sorting, distribution facility
WILLMAR—A purchase agreement for 14.46 acres of land in the Willmar Industrial Park has been signed between the city of Willmar and JDC Property Group LLC. JDC is purchasing the land and constructing a package sorting and distribution facility for logistics company that so far has not been named publicly. The sale price for the land was $650,000. The site is located between Trott Avenue and Willmar Avenue Southwest on the west side of Kandiyohi County Road 5. “This is a nice project, we are

Ridgewater brings $170 million to area’s economy, study says

November 14, 2018

Ridgewater brings $170 million to area’s economy, study says
WILLMAR—Ridgewater College contributes more than $170 million to the region’s economy, according to a study by the Minnesota State system of public colleges and universities. The study indicates the college also contributes 1,456 jobs to the area, according to a news release from Ridgewater. “At Ridgewater College, our top priority is the success of our students and alumni, but our college also plays a vital role in both the state and regional economies,” Craig Johnson, president

RockStep continues to envision a successful future for Kandi Mall

November 9, 2018

RockStep continues to envision a successful future for Kandi Mall
WILLMAR—While he wasn’t able to give any specifics about possible new stores opening up in Willmar’s Kandi Mall, Andy Weiner, president of RockStep Capital, the owner of the shopping center, did say there has been movement. This is especially true for the empty Kmart portion of the mall, which has stood vacant since 2012. “We have some major national tenants for the Kmart,” Weiner said. “One which could open next year.” What Weiner would say of the two retailers

2018 FAM Tour by Connie Schmoll

October 16, 2018

Designed to bring familiarization of Minnesota and communities across the state, including Kandiyohi County and the city of Willmar, to site selectors nationwide, the 2018 Minnesota Site Selectors FAM Tour may have been the most effective tour in the four years I have been a part of this organization. Past FAM Tours In 2015, the FAM Tour included one site selector, Linda Burns, coming to Willmar for one day to tour the area and visit with business leaders. During the other three days that Ms. Burns