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Davis, Calvin and Invest in Willmar already looking beyond election day victories

Erica Dischino / Tribune Ward 2 Willmar City Council candidate Vicki Davis poses for a photo Sept. 28. 1 / 2
Erica Dischino / Tribune Willmar Mayor Marv Calvin poses for a photo Sept. 26. He won Tuesday's election to enter his second, and final, term as mayor.2 / 2

WILLMAR — With the 2018 election at an end in Willmar, Willmar City Council member-elect Vicki Davis can begin to look forward to her first term. She defeated challenger Christina Nelson 1,039 to 946.

"I am feeling very good. I am happy with the turnout," Davis said.

Davis is replacing long-time council member Ron Christianson, who decided not to run for a sixth term.

Davis, the owner of the Goodness Coffee Shop in downtown Willmar, said her next steps are to meet with city administration and staff, to get to know them before she takes her place at the council table in early January. Davis also said she hopes to attend training put on by the League of Minnesota Cities.

As a council member, Davis wants to help with the local option sales tax projects and with downtown development.

"I feel like I can help with that, since I am downtown every day."

As Davis prepares for her first term, she wants to know what her constituents want or what their concerns are.

"Don't be afraid to reach out to me," Davis said.

Mayor

Continuing to help lead the city forward will be Mayor Marv Calvin, who had a very strong showing in Tuesday's election. He won a second term with 73.81 percent of the vote. He defeated challenger Steve Peppin 5,149 votes to 1,773.

"I feel really good about it. The voters of Willmar sent a clear message, they like the direction Willmar is going," Calvin said. "It is very humbling the voters really believed in what we are doing as a council."

Calvin is turning his attention to the next four years. He wants to focus on housing, economic development and child care.

"We need to be aggressive, we need to go after that," Calvin said. "I think you will see explosive growth in the next four years."

LOST

In the next several years the council will be greatly involved in the local option sales tax projects. The half of a percent sales tax increase was approved by Willmar voters 4,141 to 2,641. Legislative approval is still required, but the tax is expected to be implemented.

"Sixty-one percent of the vote is strong," said Matt Dawson, one of three community members who first brought the Invest in Willmar sales tax forward to the council.

The sales tax is estimated to raise $30 million in approximately 13 years. The funds would be split among six different projects including a recreation and events center, recreation fields for different sports, an updated community center, stormwater improvements and upgrades at Robbins Island and Swansson Field.

Calvin is looking forward to getting those project completed in the next few years.

"The community spoke," Calvin said.

Dawson said these are projects people could get behind and will help Willmar truly become a regional center.

"It is just great. This is one of those things the community can feel good about moving forward," Dawson said. "This will really be a step forward for our community."

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