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Kandiyohi County OKs tax abatement for Willmar's Lakeland Hotel project

WILLMAR - The Kandiyohi County Commissioners unanimously approved a 15-year tax abatement this morning that could help make the redevelopment of Willmar's downtown historic Lakeland Hotel financially feasible.

The county action follows a 4-3 vote Monday night by the Willmar City Council following a 90-minute debate.

By contrast, the county's public hearing lasted about 15 minutes.

"It's a good project," said County Administrator Larry Kleindl. "It's a project that would be beneficial to Kandiyohi County and the surrounding area."

It's the first time the county has agreed to grant a tax abatement for more than 10 years and several commissioners expressed concern about extending the abatement for the entire 15 years.

"I think it's our responsibility to help, but I was hoping 10 years would do the trick," said Commissioner Dennis Peterson. "But apparently not."

The Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership is proposing to renovate the hotel to include shops on the street level and "work force housing" on the second floor.

Approval of the abatement by the city and county does not mean the estimated $3.6 million project will be awarded the competitive grants and other financing sought.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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