WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council has approved a plat that will allow the Willmar Area Food Shelf to increase parking and provide space for future possible building expansion.
The council approved a preliminary and final plat that combines the lot currently owned by the food shelf with an adjacent lot to the west, which the food shelf is purchasing from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway to provide parking for clients and space for future expansion.
The food shelf needs the space to provide better truck access and parking for employees and visitors, said Bruce Peterson, Willmar director of planning and development services. The food shelf has limited parking spaces and wishes to expand parking on the lot being purchased from the railroad. The food shelf assists 780 families a month and receives three semi deliveries a week.
The plat was approved April 25 by the Planning Commission and was approved May 7 by the council. The larger parcel will give the food shelf, located at 624 Pacific Ave. S.W., ownership of land all the way to Seventh Street Southwest, Peterson said.
In the interest of expediency and because the plat was simple and uncomplicated, Peterson said city staff combined the preliminary and final plat processes and recommended approval.
The property is the site of a former grain elevator and was leased from the railroad. Peterson said the railroad has been selling property and wants to liquidate everything that is not used.
Council member Bruce DeBlieck asked if the food shelf intends to pave the parcel. He was concerned about runoff from storm water.
Peterson said the property has a good gravel base remaining from the elevator, and he said the predominant slope of the property is toward the tracks. Peterson said the food shelf has hopes of constructing a greenhouse on the property.