Willmar City Council to consider Hometown Fiber proposal, rebranding initiative

Feb. 3—WILLMAR

— The

Willmar City Council

on Monday, Feb. 5, will consider approving a community outreach and education proposal from

Hometown Fiber

for the

Connect Willmar Initiative,

as well as approving the city's rebranding initiative.

The meeting takes place at 6:30 p.m. in the boardroom at the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services building.

The Connect Willmar Initiative is the open-access

broadband

network the city is planning to install throughout the city. It will be owned by the city and managed by Hometown Fiber. The open-access network will allow multiple internet service providers to provide services on the network.

City staff recommends that the council approve the tier one option of the proposal at a cost not to exceed $89,500, according to a memorandum in the council packet. The funds to pay for the program will initially come from the Industrial Park Fund and be reimbursed to the city when bond proceeds for the infrastructure project are issued.

Approval of a city branding initiative is also on the agenda for Monday's meeting.

The council approved a proposal from

Replace

in June of 2023 to create a new brand identity for Willmar — all city departments will need to adopt and utilize the rebranding for messaging and promotion if approved.

The primary goals of this project are to create uniformity, community identity and pride, community and economic development promotion, brand flexibility and community endorsement, according to a memorandum in the council packet.

Community and stakeholder engagement, multiple design directions and exploring Willmar's history were key elements of the project, and the rebranding committee worked alongside Replace to develop a brand logo reflective of Willmar's history and the future growth of Willmar.

If approved by the council, staff will begin to organize a brand launch with an expected start date of Wednesday, Feb. 21. The council approved $17,000 in the 2024 budget for this year's rebranding efforts.