Willmar

Planning for Willmar airport’s future

April 2, 2017

Planning for Willmar airport’s future
WILLMAR—It’s been 20 years since the Willmar Airport Master Plan was updated. Back then the city was involved with the major venture of moving the airport to its current location on state Highway 40. “All it talks about is how we’re going to build this new airport. We are a little past that now,” said Airport Manager Megan DeSchepper. The master plan will lay out the short-, mid-, and long-term development plans for the airport. “It will set goals and policies on how

Developing a vision: EDC reviews retail data to help economic strategy for the future

March 25, 2017

Developing a vision: EDC reviews retail data to help economic strategy for the future
WILLMAR—A newly completed report with data that show the strengths and weaknesses in retail trade in the city of Willmar and Kandiyohi County is being used to develop a vision and strategy for continued economic growth in the community. During a day-long planning session Thursday at the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center in rural Spicer, members of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission got a look at the graphs and summaries in the 43-page report that

Willmar Poultry, Aviagen establish new turkey poult supplier

March 17, 2017

Willmar Poultry, Aviagen establish new turkey poult supplier
WILLMAR — Willmar Poultry/Ag Forte has merged with Valley of the Moon Commercial Poults and is set to establish a new commercial turkey poult company called Select Genetics. “The focus of Select Genetics will be to deliver the best quality genetics to the turkey industry, which will allow our industry to best compete against other animal proteins,” said Rick Vanderspek, president and chief operations officer of Select Genetics, in a news release announcing the venture. Vanderspek is

Willmar grows and prospers

February 12, 2017

Willmar grows and prospers
WILLMAR—In 2016 the city of Willmar approved over $60 million dollars in new construction and development ranging from major school projects to new homes and businesses. These projects popped up all over town from the Industrial Park and along Lakeland Drive to the retail center of First Street. “2016 was a positive year,” said Bruce Peterson, Willmar Planning and Community Development director. While Willmar still has a lack of housing in many areas, especially workforce housing, 2016

EDC to Assist Minority-Owned Businesses

January 31, 2017

EDC to Assist Minority-Owned Businesses
WILLMAR—As Willmar’s population continues to diversify, with people coming to the city from around the world, the business community is also growing and changing, with dozens of businesses owned and operated by minorities. “They increasingly represent a significant portion of our economy,” said Aaron Backman, executive director of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission. To make sure the EDC can assist those businesses, Backman applied to the Southwest

Proposal in works for new psychiatric facility in Willmar

January 26, 2017

Proposal in works for new psychiatric facility in Willmar
WILLMAR—Emily Piper, Minnesota Commissioner of Human Services, outlined the need Wednesday for a new children’s psychiatric hospital in Willmar and assured staff that her department will advocate for legislative action on funding. “I want it to be a state-of-the-art facility for kids and the people who work here,” Piper said during a meeting at the Child and Adolescent Behavioral Services facility on the MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar. In his budget proposal that was released

Kandiyohi County broadband projects receive nearly $6 million

January 11, 2017

Kandiyohi County broadband projects receive nearly $6 million
WILLMAR—Local leaders greeted the announcement of broadband grant funds Wednesday with enthusiasm, calling it good news for rural Kandiyohi County. Two projects in Kandiyohi County made the list of recipients of border-to-border technology infrastructure development grants, announced Wednesday by state officials. Consolidated Telecommunications Co. will receive $4.94 million to improve high-speed internet services in a rural neighborhood that includes the New London, Spicer and Willmar areas. The

EDC reinforces marketing for Willmar’s ‘shovel-ready’ industrial park

November 2, 2016

EDC reinforces marketing for Willmar’s ‘shovel-ready’ industrial park
WILLMAR—Now that streets, utilities and a “shovel-ready” certification are in place for the development of a new section of the Willmar Industrial Park, a reinforced marketing campaign is underway to get the space filled. At its recent meeting, the joint powers board of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission was shown a newly completed promotional flier the EDC will use to promote the 241-acre site. A color-coded map on the one-page document identifies

Kandi Mall abatement approved by city, county

September 8, 2016

Kandi Mall abatement approved by city, county
WILLMAR — In a unanimous vote Tuesday, the Willmar City Council approved a 10-year tax abatement for Willmar’s Kandi Mall. A public hearing was held before the vote. The Kandiyohi County Board also met Tuesday and unanimously approved the county’s share of the abatement. RockStep Capital, who purchased the mall last year, is planning on a major rehabilitation project at the mall. It includes the remodeling of the old Kmart store space at the south end, constructing a new retail building

Home construction in Willmar already surpasses last year

August 15, 2016

Home construction in Willmar already surpasses last year
WILLMAR—The city of Willmar has already issued more new home construction permits in the first seven months of 2016 than it did all of last year. “I think the demand is there,” said Bruce Peterson, Planning and Development Services director. There have been 31 single-family dwelling construction permits this year, totaling about $6 million in permit value. Last year there were 12 single-family and 10 twin homes, Peterson said. Peterson said he believes a majority of the new homes going