Willmar Downtown Development (name change April 2014) helps lead city improvements, downtown beautification, storefront enhancement, landmark restoration and making a downtown Willmar a destination for all. It’s 11 Board of Directors oversee the work of more than three hundred volunteers coming from all parts of the City and beyond.
In 2014, besides a name change that better reflects the activity of WDD, the Board made the decision to change their Committee names to Team names that more closely align with the structure of Minnesota Main Street. These new Teams are: Design, Economic Restructuring, Promotion and Organization.
Minnesota Main Street is an organizational structure under the umbrella of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota. Willmar was the first designated City of MMS and has now been awarded accreditation for 2 years in a row. Membership in MMS provides technical assistance funds to WDD for consulting that is not normally available in small towns.
Meets 2nd Monday at 4:00 PM
Chair: Angela Holm
Economic Restructuring Team
Meets 2nd Tuesday at 4:00 PM
Chair: Zack Liebl
Meets 2nd Thursday at 8:15 AM
Chair: Carol Laumer
Meets 2nd Wednesday at 7:30 AM
Chair: Don Williamson
PROJECT AND TASK FORCE TEAMS
These teams are spin-offs of our four Ongoing Teams and play a vital role in accomplishing goals. They are designed to be quick moving and short in duration.
Pick up a brochure at downtown locations: The Goodness Coffee Shop, Willmar Public Library, Rice Memorial Hospital and other locations. Enjoy 3 measured walks and enjoy our historic buildings and our closest lake at Robbins Island Park.
GLACIAL LAKES TRAIL EXTENSION TO SELVIG PARK
Construction in 2013 from the North side of the 1st Street Bridge to Robbins Island, includes direct access to the trail at Ella Avenue. The Willmar Design Center/Willmar Downtown Development applied for a Transportation grant to make this possible. The next piece of the trail is Heritage Bank Block—and then West down Becker Avenue (see Becker Avenue redesign). Preliminary work on an expanded Selvig Park is in the long-range plan.
ANNUAL EVENT COMMITTEES
Willmar Downtown Development plans several cultural and social events to bring people downtown and spur economic development activity. All are welcome to become involved, meet people, and help us create fun, successful events!
Formed in 2007, Becker Market is a downtown outdoor market with local foods and handmade items operating every Thursday afternoon from 2:00 – 5:30 from June through September. Unique features include food demonstrations and free samples with recipes, as well as children’s activities, food classes and music. All proceeds from the market support the Market. Location: 414 Becker Square.
Bounty of the County
This annual local foods dinner is held outdoors, under tent, in at 414 Becker Square. It is WDD’s major fundraising event of the year. Funds raised support the Design Center’s mission: Renewing the Heart of the City.
Held in November, the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the Holidaze Parade and Festival begins in the afternoon with fire pits, chili supper at Bethel Church, children’s activities and entertainment at The Barn Theatre. Our multicultural community opens their doors with treats common to their cultures. The lighted parade begins at 6:30 PM and winds through downtown Willmar. The event brings families from miles to enjoy a fun-filled Saturday afternoon and evening.