Willmar

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

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

Woodland Centers crisis and detox facilities receive long-awaited upgrade

December 3, 2019

Woodland Centers crisis and detox facilities receive long-awaited upgrade
WILLMAR—A long awaited renovation is nearing completion at the crisis center and detox facilities at Woodland Centers. The changes are bringing several improvements that will increase safety and accessibility for the clients who stay there. The entire facility also is getting a facelift to make it brighter and more welcoming. “I think it’s going to be a better atmosphere for our clients,” said Dr. Ashley Kjos, Woodland Centers executive director. “We want people to feel

Resignation of James Miller means leadership transition for United Way of West Central Minnesota

November 20, 2019

Resignation of James Miller means leadership transition for United Way of West Central Minnesota
WILLMAR—There will be a change in leadership at the United Way of West Central Minnesota. It was announced Wednesday that James Miller, who has been executive director of the five-county United Way chapter for six years, has resigned. His last day at the agency is Dec. 31. In a news release, Brad Hanson, president of the board of directors for the United Way of West Central Minnesota, said Miller has “played a critical role in the development and success of the organization, and while we will

Marcus Construction to manage three Willmar projects funded by new sales tax

November 19, 2019

Marcus Construction to manage three Willmar projects funded by new sales tax
WILLMAR—Three local option sales tax projects now have a leader. Marcus Construction was hired by the Willmar City Council to act as the construction manager at risk for the new recreation fields and event center near the Willmar Civic Center and for improvements at the Swansson Field Recreational Complex. “We are honored and really excited to get to work on these very important projects,” said Jim Bach of Marcus Construction at the Nov. 4 City Council meeting. The fee for Marcus Construction’s

Willmar takes another step toward Middle School addition

November 18, 2019

Willmar takes another step toward Middle School addition
WILLMAR—The Willmar School Board has taken another step toward a potential addition at Willmar Middle School. School district officials have been meeting with Southwest West Central Service Cooperative since summer about working together to build an addition at the school. It would include an alternative learning center and a new gymnasium for the middle school and a facility for special education students with high needs to be operated by the cooperative. The School Board voted this week to seek

The search for a new Willmar city administrator continues

November 18, 2019

The search for a new Willmar city administrator continues
WILLMAR—Baker Tilly, the search firm hired by the Willmar City Council to head the national search for a new city administrator, is continuing the process with a hope to hire by early next year. “We are fast approaching the next phases in the search for our next city administrator,” said Councilor Shawn Mueske at the Nov. 4 Willmar City Council meeting. Mueske and Human Resources Director Samantha Beckman gave the council an update on the search process at the meeting. The advertising

Wet weather slows weekly Willmar Wye progress

October 28, 2019

Wet weather slows weekly Willmar Wye progress
WILLMAR—For a few days last week a large crane towered over state Highway 40, near County State Aid Highway 55, as a new box culvert was installed at the Hawk Creek crossing. The installation is part of the Willmar Wye Rail Connector and Industrial Access project. Despite the rains, the Hoffman Team, the contractor for the Willmar Wye project, continued pushing forward with construction on the road portion of the rail bypass project. The entire project will include a new section to U.S. Highway

Patina Marquet aims to bring community together at Willmar’s Kandi Mall

September 25, 2019

Patina Marquet aims to bring community together at Willmar’s Kandi Mall
Patina Marquet is an occasional gift and furniture consignment store in Willmar’s Kandi Mall featuring decor, clothing, jewelry and more. The store also offers workshops and space for special events, and owners Tanya and Terry Smith also organize seasonal markets throughout the mall. WILLMAR—The owners of Patina Marquet, Tanya and Terry Smith, want their store to be more than just another store. They want it to be a community gathering place, a place where people can not only find unique

DEED commissioner sees economic success and challenges during tour in Willmar

August 30, 2019

DEED commissioner sees economic success and challenges during tour in Willmar
WILLMAR—While taking tours across Minnesota, Steve Grove has heard about the economic success stories as well as the economic challenges communities are experiencing. On Thursday, Grove—the commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development—was in Willmar touring local businesses and hearing from community leaders about those challenges and opportunities. Grove had high praise for what he saw. “The way this community has embraced its growing workforce, its immigrant workforce,