News

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

December 28, 2021

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

Willmar School Board adopts tax levy and passes, for now, on proposal to develop turf field near Willmar Civic Center

December 14, 2021

Willmar School Board adopts tax levy and passes, for now, on proposal to develop turf field near Willmar Civic Center
WILLMAR—The property tax levy that funds Willmar Public Schools will decrease 1% in the next year. The Willmar School Board voted at its meeting Monday to adopt the levy, following its Truth-in-Taxation public hearing. The board also heard a presentation about possibly developing a full football stadium at the new turf football field between the Willmar Civic Center and Willmar Senior High School. Kathryn Haase, director of business and finance, led the board through a review of the property tax

MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar requesting tax abatement for three additional buildings to be renovated

December 14, 2021

MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar requesting tax abatement for three additional buildings to be renovated
WILLMAR—Fifteen years after it was first established, the MinnWest Technology Campus continues to be transformed into one of Kandiyohi County’s economic development stars. Currently, it is home to 27 different companies offering employment to 693 people, with an average salary of $55,000 a year. “It is a real gem for this community,” said James Sieben, president of both the campus and Nova-Tech Engineering, one of the largest employers on the campus located in Willmar. However,

Jennie-O Turkey Store’s Benson Avenue plant in Willmar to close

December 9, 2021

Jennie-O Turkey Store’s Benson Avenue plant in Willmar to close
WILLMAR—The Jennie-O Turkey Store plant located on Benson Avenue just west of downtown Willmar will be closing in the first half of fiscal year 2022, according to a news release from Hormel Foods, which owns Jennie-O. The news comes as Hormel reports double-digit sales growth in every segment of the business in the fourth quarter. The release said that team members at the plant on Benson Avenue will transition to the Willmar Avenue plant, which is both newer and larger than the Benson Avenue location.

MnDOT pauses safety project on Highways 23 and 9 in New London after public concerns

December 8, 2021

MnDOT pauses safety project on Highways 23 and 9 in New London after public concerns
NEW LONDON—A safety improvement project at state Highways 23 and 9 by New London has been paused as the Minnesota Department of Transportation District 8 re-evaluates the plans following ongoing concerns from the New London City Council and others in the public. “We’ve made the decision to step back to have more discussion with the community and other stakeholders to assure all perspectives of the project are considered,” said Jon Huseby, District 8 engineer, in a news release

Arvig moving forward with broadband project in Prinsburg, Minnesota, funded partially by coronavirus relief funds

December 6, 2021

Arvig moving forward with broadband project in Prinsburg, Minnesota, funded partially by coronavirus relief funds
PRINSBURG—Approximately 500 residents of Prinsburg will soon have the option of purchasing high-speed broadband services. Following the construction of an 8.1-mile fiber network, the city will have access to speeds reaching one gigabit for residents and 10 gigabits for businesses. “Arvig is committed to bringing the highest quality broadband services to rural communities like Prinsburg,” said Mark Birkholz, director of customer operations and southern markets at Arvig, in a news release

Kandiyohi County approves 2022 tax levy with a 1.5 percent increase

December 6, 2021

Kandiyohi County approves 2022 tax levy with a 1.5 percent increase
WILLMAR—Despite the need to hire new staff in several departments, Kandiyohi County only had to raise the 2022 tax levy 1.5% over the 2021 levy. The levy was set at $35,335,704, up from the $34,813,214 approved for 2021. “I am pleased we’ve been able to keep it at 1.5%,” said Commissioner Rollie Nissen. “That has always been my goal, to hold it down.” The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved both the tax levy and 2022 budget Thursday evening,

Willmar Recreation and Event Center is starting to take shape

December 4, 2021

Willmar Recreation and Event Center is starting to take shape
WILLMAR—The walls are going up at the construction site of the Willmar Recreation and Event Center, adjacent to the Willmar Civic Center. The precast walls started being installed this week with the help of a very large crane. “By the end of next week, the walls will be completed,” said Rob Baumgarn, Willmar Parks and Recreation director. The steel for the roof is expected to arrive in January. And once the exterior of the building is up and made weather-tight, the work on the inside

Minnesota voters staying on top at the polls

November 21, 2021

Minnesota voters staying on top at the polls
WILLMAR—For three years running, Minnesota has led the nation in voter turnout, with 79.6% of eligible voters casting ballots in the last general election. That still leaves one in five eligible voters not exercising their right to have a say in our democracy. That figure explains why Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon and Simone Frierson, voter outreach director for the office, gathered Wednesday morning at the Midtown Plaza in Willmar with representatives from a variety of organizations.

Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission awarded State grant

November 19, 2021

Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission awarded State grant
WILLMAR—On Friday, November 12, 2021, the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission (EDC) was awarded a $76,000 Small Business Partnership Grant by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The goal of this grant is to fund programs that promote the growth and success of entrepreneurs and small businesses in Minnesota; a great fit for the EDC’s new Elevate Business Academy. Elevate Business Academy is the first and only Community Business
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