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Editorial: Vision 2040 is a good step for all in Willmar and Kandiyohi County

Forward-thinking stakeholder leaders have stepped forward to facilitate and fund the Vision 2040 community visioning effort for the greater of Willmar and Kandiyohi County.

This Vision 2040 effort is a critical effort for the city of Willmar along with Kandiyohi County and its various town. This effort also includes the city and county business communities, educational institutions and various sectors of our community, including senior citizens, high school and college students, civic organizations and ethnic groups.

Willmar participated in a Vision 2020 process around the turn of the century, which helped identify specific community needs and produce efforts to meet those needs, such as the local YMCA, the community pool and the embracing of diversity. This in turn helps various entities within the city and county work together toward common priorities in setting their own goals.

There are a series of meetings this week across the city and county with various groups and individuals with the Next Generation Consulting group of Madison, Wis. These meetings are helping the consultants learn about Willmar and Kandiyohi County, understand the history of the region and gather ideas.

The next phase of the project will be comparing the greater Willmar community to five “peer” communities: Hutchinson, Alexandria, St. Cloud, Owatonna and Watertown, S.D.

Throughout the summer, the Vision 2040 project will gather information and analyze future trends in society, technology, economy, environment and politics for the community and the region of west central Minnesota.

There will be opportunities throughout the process for community input and discussion.

The Vision 2040 project is an encouraging sign of leadership from all the stakeholders involved. Thank you to the city, county and private donors who helped fund this effort.

We encourage every citizen to participate in Vision 2040, as it an important effort in identifying, prioritizing and planning for the future of the greater community of Willmar and Kandiyohi County.

Vision 2040 is a critical part of all of our collective future in Willmar and Kandiyohi County.