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Editorial: Let’s work together to help build our future

The Willmar Lakes Area today will get a good analysis of its strengths and challenges and what its collective future might be when the Vision 2040 summary report is released.

Two public meetings will be held today to hear presentations from the consultant describing a critical look at the area and possible goals for the community’s future.

Community leaders and citizens are encouraged to attend as it not an event to miss.

Rebecca Ryan, a consultant with Next Generation, will discuss the report from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Willmar Conference Center. An optional lunch is available for $11 per person.

An identical presentation will be conducted from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Willmar Education and Arts Center, with Spanish and Somali interpreters.

Ryan’s 45-page report is a result of a study with data analysis, surveys and public meetings to help identify strategic goals for the community. They include the local economy, education, environment, social opportunities and quality of life opportunities and needs.

This report will highlight the current strengths and challenges of the Willmar Lakes Area and help identify critical goals to work toward.

The question facing all of Willmar and Kandiyohi County is do we collectively want to be a regional center of excellence or just accept the way things have always been or are now — just being an average outstate city and community.

The challenge for the Willmar Lakes Area is this: Do we have the foresight and will to work together in a cooperative partnership toward a planned and better future. This is not a visioning effort for Willmar only or Kandiyohi County only, but one for all of the Willmar Lakes Area.

Our focus must be on the greater good for our entire community. The past and present of Willmar and Kandiyohi County have always been unequivocally interlaced. The fact is that our collective future is as well. The Willmar Lakes Area’s direction in the coming years will create our collective future for decades to come.

Together we can move the Willmar Lakes Area forward as a regional center of excellence, which in turn will be a great place to live, work, play and learn and do business.