Willmar

Willmar Planning Commission approves land sale that could make Block 25 location for new apartment complex

April 22, 2021

Willmar Planning Commission approves land sale that could make Block 25 location for new apartment complex
WILLMAR — The value of four Willmar-owned lots in downtown was debated Wednesday night by members of the Willmar Planning Commission. The question was whether the lots located on Block 25, currently being used as a public parking lot, were more valuable to the city as a parking lot or as the future home of a new apartment building. At the end of the debate, which raised several questions and differences of opinion on the issue, the commission approved the sale to Lumber One Development Company

Kandiyohi County and city of Willmar Economic Development Commission hires Willmar city planner for business development post

April 9, 2021

Kandiyohi County and city of Willmar Economic Development Commission hires Willmar city planner for business development post
WILLMAR—The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission has found its next business development manager and didn’t have to look far to find her. Current Willmar City Planner Sarah Swedburg has accepted the position and plans to start around May 6. She is replacing Connie Schmoll, who is retiring at the end of May. Schmoll has worked for the EDC for just over seven years. Lately she has been focusing on expanding broadband through the county, business development

Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission hints at major developments that could be on the way to Willmar

April 9, 2021

Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission hints at major developments that could be on the way to Willmar
WILLMAR—While specifics were slim, Aaron Backman, Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission executive director, gave some intriguing hints Thursday about possible major economic development projects that could be headed to Willmar. The biggest is a large distribution center project for an undisclosed end user. Back in 2018-2019, a logistics company came close to building a project in Willmar, but it was canceled in early 2019. “This one is bigger and better,”

Willmar Housing

March 22, 2021

Willmar Housing
WILLMAR — If one is looking for a home to buy or an apartment to rent around Willmar, they might have some difficulty. Housing availability continues to be an issue in and around the Willmar area. According to the Minnesota Realtors Association, there were only 97 homes for sale in February in the southwest central region, which includes Kandiyohi, Renville, Meeker and McLeod counties, only 1.1 months of supply and a 60 percent drop from the same period one year ago. “It has gotten really

Renaissance Zone could bring about a rebirth of downtown Willmar

December 22, 2020

Renaissance Zone could bring about a rebirth of downtown Willmar
WILLMAR—When downtown and a portion of the U.S. Highway 12 commercial corridor were chosen as Willmar’s lone federal Opportunity Zone, David Ramstad and his staff at city Planning and Development definitely saw an opportunity. While the Opportunity Zone as a tool is geared more toward developers with deep pockets and capital gains, Ramstad wanted Willmar’s zone to become a rebirth for the poorest area of town. Out of those dreams came the Willmar Renaissance Zone and a list of

EDC tallies $3.3M in local business relief grants

November 14, 2020

EDC tallies $3.3M in local business relief grants
The Coronavirus Relief Program [sic], which provided grant funding—and for some, a lifeline—for hundreds of area businesses and nonprofits hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession, has come to a close. When everything is finalized at the end of the year, Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission (EDC) Director Aaron Backman estimates the EDC will have doled out about $3.5 million in assistance. “That is a significant sum for us, it’s a significant

Willmar, Kandiyohi County continue to give relief to local businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19

November 9, 2020

Willmar, Kandiyohi County continue to give relief to local businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19
WILLMAR—When Kandiyohi County and the city of Willmar began planning how to spend the stimulus funds each received from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, both the County Board and City Council were clear where they thought the most relief was needed—small businesses and nonprofits negatively impacted by the pandemic and related shutdown. Each initially transferred at least $1 million of its CARES allocation to the county and city Economic Development Commission which

Snow slows downs U.S. Highway 12 completion in Willmar

October 27, 2020

Snow slows downs U.S. Highway 12 completion in Willmar
WILLMAR—The early arrival of winter, or at least a sneak peek of it, has caused a delay in the completion of the realignment of U.S. Highway 12 on the western edge of Willmar, a part of the Willmar Wye railroad bypass project. According to the weekly wye update released Monday by the Minnesota Department of Transportation District 8, the new Highway 12 probably won’t be open for traffic until mid-November. It had been hoped that portion of the project would be complete by the end of October. Read

Willmar City Council open to exploring Willmar 10’s city hall proposal

October 20, 2020

Willmar City Council open to exploring Willmar 10’s city hall proposal
The Willmar 10 Investment Group presented their idea to the Willmar City Council about where a new city hall and community center could go. The local group of investors wants to purchase the old JCPenney location in Uptown Willmar and remodel it into a combined city hall and community center. The City Council gave its permission for city staff to work with the Willmar 10 group in answering several questions about the proposal, including just how much it would cost and how the city would finance it. Read

‘Gaps,’ intersection safety among issues emerging in freight study

October 19, 2020

‘Gaps,’ intersection safety among issues emerging in freight study
WILLMAR—Some familiar issues are emerging as the District 8 office of the Minnesota Department of Transportation looks at how to improve intermodal freight movement in the southwest counties of the state. Safety is chief among them: The district has a high rate of severe accidents at its high-traffic intersections, Lindsey Bruer, planning director for District 8, told members of the district’s Area Transportation Partnership at its Oct. 9 meeting. She said the crash record was consistently