David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
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NEW LONDON -- Volunteers have been painting and cleaning as plans move ahead to open the Willmar Area Food Shelf's new satellite office Sept. 8 in a former New London clinic. The new site is called the Willmar Area Food Shelf Northern Office and is located in the former Affiliated Community Medical Centers clinic. The building was bought this past spring by the adjoining Evangelical Covenant Church.
WILLMAR -- The Storm Water Task Force is asking the City Council to fully fund an update of the city's 1998 watershed management report to properly evaluate task force recommendations for solving storm water flooding problems during heavy rains. The city had budgeted $50,000 in 2009 for the update and for overall storm water projects, but the amount was cut by $20,000 as part of larger budget reductions due to a cut in Local Government Aid. The budget still has $30,000 for storm water analysis, which would cover part of the three-phase update.
WILLMAR -- Officials of the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Kandiyohi County say they want further evaluation of Willmar's proposed safety improvement at the Business 71/County Road 24/23rd Street Northeast intersection. MnDOT is unable to issue a permit to construct the city's proposal or participate in financing that solution without further evaluation, wrote District Engineer David Trooien in a July 29 letter to City Administrator Michael Schmit. Trooien was responding to a July 14 letter from Schmit, who notified MnDOT and county officials of the City Council's early July deci
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council voted 4-3 Monday to close two blocks of Kandiyohi Avenue Southwest for a St.
WILLMAR -- Anna Claussen of Minneapolis grew up in the Benson-Montevideo area and found herself at least once a week in Willmar hanging around Becker Avenue and Rice Memorial Hospital where her mother works. She never envisioned a downtown market space or pedestrian plaza on Becker Avenue. But now Claussen, a landscape architect, is designing a project to do just that. "I didn't envision it then.
WILLMAR -- The city of Willmar Public Works Department is recommending the city buy a new vacuum-type street sweeper capable of removing finer debris particles than the present brush-type sweeper to comply with stricter storm water pollution prevention rules. But first, the Public Works staff must compare a private contractor's street-sweeping cost estimates with city street-sweeping cost estimates before the purchase moves forward. The cost comparison was requested Tuesday by the Willmar City Council's Public Works/Safety Committee after the committee received a cost analysis and comparison
WILLMAR -- Willmar will receive an additional $2.1 million grant from the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority to help pay for the city's $86 million wastewater treatment project. City Administrator Michael Schmit said the funding is good news for the city because the money will arrive in the form of a grant rather than a loan.
WILLMAR -- Eighth Judicial District Chief Judge Paul Nelson has appointed Richard Hoglund to the Willmar Charter Commission to fill the unexpired two-year term of Shelly Cash. The term expires Dec. 31, 2010. Nelson signed orders on July 22 appointing Hoglund and removing Cash. Cash had been appointed Jan. 2, 2009, and she signed the oath of office on Jan. 28. Under state law, a Charter Commission member will be removed if the member fails to perform the duties of the office and fails to attend four consecutive meetings without being excused by the commission.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Police Department and Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office will use a $48,394 federal grant to buy and install security cameras in public places to protect public infrastructure from criminal activity. The county will receive two cameras and the city from seven to eight cameras under the Safe Neighborhoods Enhanced by Video Technology grant. The grant application was submitted by the city and county in April and approved by the Department of Justice. Police Chief Jim Kulset and city staff requested the City Council accept the grant, and the council voted 3-2 Monday night
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council will send the proposed purchase of a new street sweeper back to committee after council member Ron Christianson expressed interest in having city officials compare the cost of privatizing street cleaning services to the cost of buying a new sweeper. During a one-hour meeting Monday, the council voted 5-0 to send the issue back to the Public Works/Safety Committee after Christianson presented information from a local contractor who is offering to lease a street cleaning vehicle similar to the type the Public Works Department is recommending the city buy. Th