An Economic Development Year in Review

An Economic Development Year in Review

January 5, 2023

<strong>An Economic Development Year in Review</strong>

*second edition with full list of housing study partners 1.4.2023*

Financial Wins | Community Projects |Workforce Support | Developments in Development

How do we describe 2022 at the EDC?

Productive. Progressive. Energetic. Significant. Community-Driven.

In this issue, we share the stories of 2022.


Financial Wins

Community Support

  • Completion of Prinsburg and Hawick broadband projects – both projects celebrated with a ribbon cutting in
  • Community Outreach – the EDC has been, and continues to, attend council meetings in all cities and townships!
  • Countywide Housing Study – the EDC, the Kandiyohi County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA), the City of Willmar, and the West Central Association of Realtors partnered together to fund a housing study for the entire county. This will continue to support the work we do in housing development.
  • Translation of Elevate Community Business Academy curriculum into Somali.

Workforce Engagement

  • Workforce Solutions Summit – in January 2022 the EDC and partners hosted the event that united employers and workforce organizations to brainstorm creative solutions for workforce development.
  • Frontline Worker Application Assistance – together with Mid-Minnesota Development Commission (MMDC) multi-lingual outreach videos helped bring access to our communities.
  • Minnesota Manufacturing Month -worked with county manufacturers to promote a strong industry workforce throughout the state.
  • Continued support in Ag Innovation.
  • Virtual Career Fair *UPCOMING* – join us for this virtual event from the comfort of your home or office! This free event for jobseekers allows you to discreetly search for a competitive job from the comfort of your home.

Progress on Projects

  • Wye completion
  • FedEx opened a facility in the Willmar Industrial Park, the largest project in the park in recent years.
  • Block 25 Lofts, Preserve on 24th & Unique Opportunities Housing Units including a newly planned project, Edgeview, located on County Road 5 all begin construction.
  • Highway 23 North Gap Project – the 4 Lanes 4 You campaign successfully began construction from Paynesville to Richmond (ribbon cutting pictured at bottom ).


A Thanks to Partners in 2022

The EDC would like to recognize and thank the dedicated work of our community partners. The support, dedication, and stewardship of these partners make the work the EDC does possible!

  • Business Owners
  • Commercial & Housing Developers
  • Kandiyohi County
  • City of Willmar
  • Cities of Atwater, Blomkest, Kandiyohi, Lake Lillian, New London, Raymond,
  • Spicer, Sunburg, Pennock, Prinsburg, and our townships and unincorporated
  • communities
  • EDC Committee and Board Members
  • Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF)
  • Mid-Minnesota Development Commission (MMDC)
  • Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES)
  • Central Minnesota Jobs & Training Services (CMJTS)
  • United Community Action Partnership (UCAP)
  • Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT)
  • Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)
  • Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF)
  • Federated Telephone Cooperative, Vibrant Broadband, Arvig, and Spectrum
  • (Charter) in partnership to bring fiber-optic broadband to the county
  • Elevate Teachers & Volunteers
  • Community Members
  • Childcare Providers
  • Our list could go on and on – we want to thank YOU


A Note from the EDC Director

A Year in Review

The Economic Development Commission (EDC) practiced its mission to be a catalyst for economic growth for the greater Kandiyohi County area this year in many different capacities. The EDC supported a thriving local economy in communities throughout the county despite persistent inflation and rising interest rates. Supporting growth, when the global profile is at its weakest since 2001, has been measurably accomplished, including in the $88 million in construction permit values in Willmar alone – over half of the dollar figure having direct involvement from the EDC. Below are some highlights, among the many daily activities we have, that the EDC is celebrating as we reflect on the year.

FedEx and Housing Developments

The most prominent project was the new $30 million FedEx Distribution Center that recently opened in the Willmar Industrial Park. During the course of the year, even with building supply challenges, three major multi-family housing projects moved forward with the construction of—Edgeview (Unique Opportunities) with 144 units, Preserve on 24th with 108 units and Block 25 Lofts with 58 units. Notably, the $11 million Block 25 project is the first major housing in Willmar’s Renaissance Zone designed to encourage investment in the downtown area. Virtually all of these units are market-rate, i.e. not income-restricted.

Willmar Wye and Transportation Infrastructure

  • After years of planning and effort the $50 million Willmar Railroad Connector and Industrial Access Project, also known as the Willmar Wye Project became reality in 2022. This project included: BNSF completing two miles of rail on the west side of town
  • MnDOT completing the U.S. Highway 12 relocation project, and a new bridge on MN
  • Highway 40 over the railroad bypass
  • Kandiyohi County acquiring land for road and rail connections and completing the County Road 5 roundabout project
  • City of Willmar donating land for the Wye project
  • The EDC is now working with several businesses, both American and European, interested in locating in the Willmar Industrial Park for the new rail access.

Supporting Innovation

One of our focus areas is supporting the expansion of logistics, manufacturing, bioscience, and high-tech company innovation. The $2.3 million water and sewer project, a result of the $1.3 million awarded to Kandiyohi County through the Innovative Business Development Public Infrastructure grant to support the Epitopix/Vaxxinova production facility, was completed this fall with a 6,000+ foot sanitary sewer extension. The project was completed successfully with $530,000 contributed by Vaxxinova and the remainder being covered by the City of Willmar.


  • The last quarter of 2022 was a flurry of successful grant applications. $4.93 million was awarded through the Border-to-Border Broadband grant by the MN Department of Economic and Employment Development (DEED) to serve five townships in the northwestern quadrant of Kandiyohi County.
  • MnDOT announced a $900,000 grant through the Transportation Economic Development Grant for improvements on MN Highway 40 to accommodate a proposed agricultural distribution project DEED approved the EDC and MMDC $200,000 for the Child Care Economic Development grant.
  • The EDC continues to work diligently on other grant opportunities that will benefit the residents, businesses, and entrepreneurs of Kandiyohi County.

2022 has definitely been an eventful year at the EDC and we look forward to continuing to serve you, your business, and your community in 2023. Here is wishing everyone a happy, peaceful, and productive New Year!


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