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Published April 08, 2014, 09:44 AM

Land sale to Jennie-O passed: Council unanimously approved ordinance

The Willmar City Council has authorized the sale of 7.6 acres of land in the city’s industrial park to Jennie-O Turkey Store.

By: Linda Vanderwerf , Forum News Service

WILLMAR, Minn. — The Willmar City Council has authorized the sale of 7.6 acres of land in the city’s industrial park to Jennie-O Turkey Store.

The company plans to expand its corporate headquarters there.

The council unanimously approved an ordinance authorizing the sale at its Monday evening meeting. Under a city policy to encourage economic development, the land value of $238,072 will be written down to zero.

The council also voted to allow the mayor and city administrator to enter into an agreement for the land sale. As part of the agreement, the council approved a 10-year option or first right of refusal for 30 acres in the industrial park for a possible future plant expansion.

The council approved the sale a month ago on a voice vote, but the city staff later found that a public hearing was required because the sale must be approved by city ordinance.

The land is two parcels of about 8 acres between the south end of the Public Works maintenance property and Kandiyohi County Road 5. The parcels had a combined value of $238,072 which would be written down to $0 under the city’s land write-down policy.

During a public hearing on the ordinance, several people urged the council to approve the sale with a unanimous vote. Some members of the council have raised questions about the project and the early negotiations that led to the land sale.

Ken Warner, president of the Willmar Chamber of Commerce and a Willmar resident, said he wanted to see the city send a “positive message” by going forward with the sale.

“What a benefit it is for our city to have an organization like this want to call Willmar home,” said Mike Carlson, a city resident and chairman of the Willmar School Board. “They are willing to contribute and make Willmar a better community.”

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