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Willmar, Minn., council OKs Kandi Racing Association liquor license

WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council has approved a liquor license for Kandi Racing Association, doing business as KRA Speedway. The speedway is located at the Kandiyohi County Fairgrounds on the city's north side.

The license approved in a 7-1 vote this week allows KRA to sell 3.2 percent liquor and on-sale wine in the covered bleacher seating area.

Last year, a local vendor received a license from the council to sell beer and wine at the speedway. This year, KRA itself decided to apply for the license.

During discussion, Bruce DeBlieck, one of two council members representing Ward 1 where the racetrack is located, wanted to clarify that liquor was sold at the race track last year.

Ward 1 resident Vickie Cyr raised several concerns. She said KRA always promotes racing as a family-oriented activity and she did not see where liquor goes along with a family-oriented activity. Cyr also said she was worried about drinking and driving.

Police Chief David Wyffels said KRA was specific on limiting serving and consumption of liquor under the covered area of the grandstand.

KRA applied for the license to realize more of the profits from liquor sales rather than selling through a vendor, the chief explained.

Wyffels said the KRA license is similar to the liquor license granted to the Willmar Stingers baseball team, which stipulates where liquor can be possessed and consumed. He said KRA will have people monitoring sales and making sure only those that have wrist bands are served and consuming.

DeBlieck said he opposed the license and said he did not think alcohol and car racing go together.

Ron Christianson said the Stingers are competition to KRA and the team has not had a problem that he knew of.

Denis Anderson, who also represents Ward 1, said KRA had alcohol there last year and he had not heard of any problems.

Voting in favor of the license were Anderson, Christianson, Steve Ahmann, Doug Reese, Rick Fagerlie, Tim Johnson and Jim Dokken. DeBlieck voted against.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150