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Willmar welcomes Leslie Valiant as new city administrator

July 19, 2021

Willmar welcomes Leslie Valiant as new city administrator
WILLMAR— When asked how her first day as the new Willmar City Administrator went, Leslie Valiant described it in one word. “A whirlwind, but it was good,” Valiant said during Monday’s Willmar City Council meeting. “Staff was wonderful, as I imagined they would be.” Valiant was hired as the city administrator on June 27. “I appreciate the chance. The opportunity is wonderful,” Valiant said. Prior to taking the top administration job in Willmar, Valiant

Suite Liv’n agrees to property maintenance agreement with Willmar in exchange for tax increment financing

July 13, 2021

Suite Liv’n agrees to property maintenance agreement with Willmar in exchange for tax increment financing
WILLMAR — Suite Liv’n, a rental developer and management company, currently has approximately 700 units in Willmar, and the company hopes to add at least another 72 with four new apartment buildings near Ridgewater College. To make the project financially feasible for Suite Liv’n, it is requesting a 15-year tax-increment financing district for the project from the city, which, if approved, would provide the company nearly $1.5 million total in returned taxes. However, to receive that

Willmar Planning Commission approves conditional use permit for Block 25 Lofts downtown

July 13, 2021

Willmar Planning Commission approves conditional use permit for Block 25 Lofts downtown
WILLMAR—The “for sale” signs on Block 25 in Willmar officially say sold and Lumber One Development Company of Avon hopes to begin construction this fall on the 57-unit, four-story apartment complex in downtown Willmar. At the special Willmar Planning Commission on June 30, the commission unanimously approved the conditional use permit for the project. “The project has proven financially feasible,” said David Ramstad, Willmar Planning and Development director. “They

Kandiyohi County successful in obtaining state grant for improvements at Big Kandi East

July 8, 2021

Kandiyohi County successful in obtaining state grant for improvements at Big Kandi East
WILLMAR — With $234,000 in hand from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Kandiyohi County is moving forward with improvements at Big Kandiyohi Lake County Park East. In February, the county applied for a 2022 Outdoor Recreation Grant to help fund the project at the park. Last week, County Administrator Larry Kleindl heard back from the state. “We were awarded that grant,” Kleindl said at Tuesday’s Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners meeting. The commissioners unanimously

‘Elevate’ has its first graduates

July 3, 2021

‘Elevate’ has its first graduates
WILLMAR—Learning how to successfully prepare, operate and manage a small business over the course of 12 weeks, five local entrepreneurs graduated June 16 from the first Elevate class in Minnesota. In a 2017 survey, the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission found an increasing number of minority-owned businesses opening in and around Willmar. The EDC report was sponsored with a grant from Southwest Initiative Foundation to design and implement a Business Retention

Breaking ground on Willmar’s future

June 30, 2021

Breaking ground on Willmar’s future
WILLMAR—Moving forward with two of the largest Invest in the Willmar Local Option Sales Tax projects, the city of Willmar held its groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, June 30, at the Willmar Civic Center. “When you have events like this, you really need to sit back and reflect on the people that made it happen,” Willmar Mayor Marv Calvin said. The recreation fields project is budgeted for $6 million with the recreation and event center budgeted for $10 million. “For over two years, our

‘Taste of Downtown’ brings the community together in Willmar Fests’ Block Party 2021

June 24, 2021

‘Taste of Downtown’ brings the community together in Willmar Fests’ Block Party 2021
WILLMAR—The festival that started as a way to showcase Willmar’s love for coffee while highlighting the people and businesses that make this community what it is, Willmar Fests was finally able to celebrate its 75th anniversary in its 76th year. As the pandemic finally loosened its grip on Willmar and the rest of Minnesota, the Willmar Fests Board sought to highlight those businesses that make Willmar great—its small businesses. That’s when Willmar Fests Board member Sarah Swedburg

Broadband project gets a lift from the Kandiyohi County Board

June 15, 2021

Broadband project gets a lift from the Kandiyohi County Board
The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners is seriously considering giving most of the county’s American Rescue Plan allotment, more than $8 million, to several high-speed broadband projects across the county. At Tuesday’s board meeting, the commissioners began that process by committing $1.3 million to a project that will expand high-speed broadband into four townships. Read the full story at the West Central Tribune.

Willmar sells downtown Block 25 parking lot

May 19, 2021

Willmar sells downtown Block 25 parking lot
WILLMAR—Lumber One Development Company will soon be the new owner of half of Block 25 in downtown Willmar. The Willmar City Council on Monday approved selling four city-owned parcels on the west side of the block for $1 per parcel. The developer plans to construct an apartment complex on the block, bringing much needed housing to the area. “This will be the first private project of its size and cost in downtown Willmar in many decades,” said David Ramstad, Willmar Planning and Development

A welcoming Willmar

May 1, 2021

A welcoming Willmar
WILLMAR— When the Willmar Welcoming Resolution was passed by the City Council back in May 2018, there were some comments about whether words on a page could really make Willmar a more open and welcoming city. Three years later Willmar Main Street, along with $27,000 in funding from Blue Cross Blue Shield/Healthy Together Willmar, hope to shine a colorful light on that welcoming resolution in the form of a public art project in downtown Willmar. The goal is to create a visual embodiment of the
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