Willmar Planning and Development director resigns
David Ramstad, Willmar Planning and Development director, has resigned from his post, effective later this month. He has accepted a job with the city of Minneapolis. During his tenure in Willmar, Ramstad helped create the downtown Renaissance Zone and assisted in bringing several new housing and business developments to the city.
WILLMAR — Dr. David Ramstad, the Willmar Planning and Development director for over two years, has decided to move on.
Ramstad's resignation was announced at Monday's Willmar City Council meeting. In an interview on Tuesday with the West Central Tribune, Ramstad said he was accepting a position with the city of Minneapolis, in their internal real estate division.
"Working on buildings the city owns, police stations, fire stations, their own office spaces," Ramstad said. "All things the city owns, I will be their owner's rep."
Family and personal reasons are why Ramstad has decided to leave Willmar. His last day will by Aug. 27.
Ramstad started in Willmar in April 2019 . During his tenure Ramstad has worked on bringing more economic development to Willmar along with starting the process to redo the city's comprehensive plan and create a blight mitigation program for the city.
"We have probably about $400 million worth of development in the pipeline," Ramstad said. "We typically only do $40 million in construction each year."
He is most proud of the Willmar Renaissance Zone , an economic development incentive program in downtown Willmar and along the east Highway 12 corridor. He already started work on two housing projects in the zone, with more possibilities on the horizon.
"It is far exceeding our expectations," Ramstad said.
He feels the zone will be a great legacy for the mayor and the council.
"People are going to look back and point to a very vibrant and new bustling downtown and they are going to be able to take credit, pride in that," Ramstad said.
Ramstad said Willmar is full of possibilities and whoever replaces him will have a lot to keep him or her busy, and Ramstad is proud to have laid the groundwork for those opportunities.
"It creates the environment, the habitat, for developers. They want to come to you," Ramstad said. "It is far more efficient, far more productive, you get more opportunities."
Ramstad said he has enjoyed his time in Willmar and working with the city to bring new economic growth to the city.
"We have made a lot of accomplishments," Ramstad said. "All these things are going to blossom."
Ramstad's departure is just the latest city staff change over the last several months. The city is looking for a Public Works Department director after Sean Christensen's resignation earlier this spring. Other hires have been made, including City Administrator Leslie Valiant, Human Resources Director LuAnn Sietsema and City Planner Kayode Adiatu.