economic development

15th Street Flats expected to break ground next month

August 24, 2018

15th Street Flats expected to break ground next month
WILLMAR—The way is clear for Commonwealth Development to break ground 15th Street Flats, the new multi-unit housing project which will offer 47 apartments for a wide range of Willmar renters. The Willmar City Council this week approved the tax increment financing development agreement between the city and developer, the last step before construction. “They hope to break ground next month,” said Bruce Peterson, Willmar Planning and Development Services director, speaking at Monday’s

Lack of child care a barrier to economic development

August 21, 2018

Lack of child care a barrier to economic development
WILLMAR—Not having enough safe, affordable and accessible child care facilities is being tagged as a growing barrier to economic development in west central Minnesota, including Kandiyohi County where it’s estimated another 776 child care slots are currently needed. Businesses that struggle to find workers because potential employees are unable to find child care—and child care providers who struggle to stay in business because of regulations and employee pay—are major components of a growing

Greater Minnesota cities struggle to sustain their oldest homes—but loans and education are helping

August 20, 2018

Greater Minnesota cities struggle to sustain their oldest homes—but loans and education are helping
On a hot August morning, in one of Willmar’s oldest neighborhoods, stucco bungalows, ramblers and an American Foursquare here and there stand under the shade of massive trees, set close together, bordered by sidewalks. It’s a charming scene, at first glance, yet many of these homes clearly need repair. “It’s the oldest housing stock in town,” said Jill Bengtson, the executive director of the Kandiyohi County Housing and Redevelopment Authority. Many of the homes are owned by low-income

Major Willmar Industrial Park development proposed, possible package sorting and distribution center

August 20, 2018

Major Willmar Industrial Park development proposed, possible package sorting and distribution center
WILLMAR—A yet-to-be named business is interested in constructing a package sorting and distribution center in the Willmar Industrial Park, a business which could bring dozens of new jobs. “They haven’t released the name, but you have heard of it. It is not going to be a secret; they are a big player,” said Bruce Peterson, Willmar Planning and Development Services director, addressing Monday’s meeting of the Willmar City Council. “They will be running loads of product

That #KanDo Mentality That Can Only Mean Success

August 14, 2018

That #KanDo Mentality That Can Only Mean Success
For almost 15 years, the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission (EDC) has been working hard to serve as a catalyst for economic growth in its region.  In 2017, Business in Focus took a closer look at this dynamic organization and all of the great initiatives the EDC was working on in partnership with other sectors to make the City and County a vibrant and attractive place to live and do business.  Read the entire article on the EDC and Kandiyohi County featured in

Willmar council OKs steps to accept $1.2M rehab grant

August 6, 2018

Willmar council OKs steps to accept $1.2M rehab grant
WILLMAR—Homes located on the northside of downtown Willmar and businesses within the downtown business district will soon be able to apply for no-interest, deferred loans for eligible rehabilitation projects. The city’s application for a Small Cities block grant of $1,205,177 was approved earlier this summer by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. “This project is for assisting homeowners and business in the downtown area on district heat, to help them with

Small community theaters aim high with big productions

July 26, 2018

Small community theaters aim high with big productions
Lake Lillian has an estimated population of 235 people, according to the United States Census Bureau. With 13 area businesses, a main street approximately half a mile long, and the nearest school almost 13 miles away, Lake Lillian is the very definition of a small town. But starting Sunday, this small town is hosting a full production of “Mary Poppins,” which is expected to draw around 100 people for each show at the former Lake Lillian school. Director Corinne Hable said, “This

Little Crow Resort nears completion

July 24, 2018

Little Crow Resort nears completion
NEW LONDON—A $7.8 million project to build a hotel, event center, restaurant, bar and pro shop on the grounds of the Little Crow Country Club is nearing completion. The project began last fall with the demolition of an existing facility that housed a bar, restaurant and pro shop at the golf course, located near New London. Hampered by inclement weather that delayed the initial expected completion date of mid-May, segments of the project are now done and open to the public and the rest—including

A year full of play and pride: Willmar’s Destination Playground exceeds goals

July 22, 2018

A year full of play and pride: Willmar’s Destination Playground exceeds goals
WILLMAR—It has been just over a year since the Willmar Destination Playground at Robbins Island Regional Park opened to the cheers of delight from adults and children alike. It is as popular today as it was on its grand opening weekend, with people coming from near and far to spend a few hours at the fully accessible, 19,000-square-foot playground. “The use is probably more than I anticipated,” Gary Mazner, Willmar Public Works superintendent said. “You see bus loads out there

Cattlemen at heart: Creativity gives next generation of farmers a boost

July 21, 2018

Cattlemen at  heart: Creativity gives next generation of farmers a boost
WILLMAR—When he looks at the herd of 100 Angus cows and their frisky spring calves grazing in a pasture of belly-high grass, Cullen Fischer still can’t believe his lifelong dream of raising cattle is coming true. “It’s kind of a pinch-me thing,” said the 31-year-old from Lake Lillian about his good fortune of taking over ownership of the well-established cow-calf operation from a retired farmer he met just a few years ago—a man who will continue to be his mentor. “I