Downtown Willmar streetscape project to be redesigned to meet grant fund parameters

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WILLMAR—The streetscape project being proposed for the intersection of Litchfield Avenue and Fourth Street Southwest in downtown Willmar has hit a rather large snag. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, which administers the Small Cities grant program from which most of the funding is coming, has raised serious concerns about the plan and whether it will fund a major aspect of the project.

The city was awarded a $750,000 grant from the program, with $400,000 earmarked for the streetscape project. The remaining $350,000 is being used for renovations at the Lakeview Apartment building.

While the city’s Small Cities grant application did include pedestrian crossing bump-outs as part of the downtown project, once the preliminary design work was done, it became evident the bump-outs — a curb extension into the parking late to reduce the crossing distance for pedestrians — would require significant road and stormwater work. That is work DEED now doesn’t believe is eligible for grant funds, according to Justice Walker, Willmar Planning and Development director.

Read the full article by the West Central Tribune.

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