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Willmar City Council to consider TED grant application at its Aug. 1 meeting

Willmar City Council is being asked to consider approval of a Transportation and Economic Development grant at its Aug. 1 meeting.

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WILLMAR — The Willmar City Council will be considering the approval of a Transportation and Economic Development grant application at its meeting Monday, Aug. 1 at the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services building.

The Willmar City Council approved an early access agreement with Nexyst 360, an agricultural distribution company that wants to purchase 137 acres in the Willmar Industrial Park. The agreement would allow Nexyst 360 to begin developer activities such as surveys, environmental assessments and soil investigations prior to any land sale being completed.

The grant is to upgrade Kandiyohi County Road 40 near the industrial park to facilitate the development of the Nexyst 360 project in the industrial park, according to Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Executive Director Aaron Backman.

Total capital investment for the project is anticipated to be more than $40 million and job creation of more than 50 jobs.

The grant would be through the Transportation and Economic Development program, which is a competitive grant program administered by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

The TED grant application is a two-step process; the EDC completed and submitted a pre-application or "expression of interest" at the end of June.

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Backman was notified July 7 that Willmar was invited to submit a full TED grant application, which is due Sept. 7. Willmar is one of only five cities in the state invited to submit the full grant application, according to Backman.

The EDC is working with Bolton & Menk to pull together the necessary information for the submission.

If received, the grant requires a 60/40 split, meaning the grant would pay for 60% of the project and the city would pay 40%. City engineers Bolton & Menk estimated that the total cost of constructing a 500-foot turn lane and 1,410-foot acceleration lane would be $948,915, meaning $569,350 would come from the TED grant and $379,565 would be from the city.

Willmar's contribution for the project would come from land sale proceeds for the project, according to Backman.

Related:
Sarah Swedburg, the business development manager for the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission, was recognized Thursday night as Emerging Young Professional of the Year by the Economic Development Association of Minnesota for her achievements in economic and community development in Kandiyohi County.
In split 5-2 votes, Willmar City Council approved accepting a grant to construct an outdoor fitness court and applying for an Age-Friendly Minnesota Community grant.
Greater Maynard Community Foundation has offered the former MACCRAY West Elementary School facility as a $1 solution to Chippewa County's need to replace Family Services offices.
City Line Towing was seeking a licensing agreement to use land under the First Street bridge in Willmar as a thoroughfare between its Benson Avenue properties on either side of the bridge, but moved forward with building a fence and moving cars onto the land before an agreement was in place.

Other items on the agenda include:

  • Consideration of funding to complete a housing study for Kandiyohi County. Kandiyohi County Housing and Redevelopment Authority is expected to contribute $24,000 for the study, and the city of Willmar and Kandiyohi County are each being asked to contribute $12,000.
  • Setting a public hearing for an ordinance for the sale of two acres of city-owned land located on 14th Avenue Southeast to Justin Paffrath for $32,000. The plan is to construct a village of tiny homes on the property.
  • Consideration of a timeline for the necessary public meetings, public hearings and notification letters to guide the approval process for a project on Lakeland Avenue to construct a Unique Opportunities apartment complex using tax increment financing.
Jennifer Kotila is a reporter for West Central Tribune of Willmar, Minnesota. She focuses on local government, specifically the City of Willmar, and business.

She can be reached via email at: jkotila@wctrib.com or phone at 320-214-4339.
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