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Council discusses what to do with church parking lot

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The Pine River City Council discussed Tuesday night, April 6, what it should do with the parking lot by Our Lady of Lourdes Church, near Second Street and Park Avenue.

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The church owns the parking lot and leases it to the city, but the council felt the lot may not be a true benefit to the city.

Mayor Jim Sabas said the city has been in control of the lot for 45 years.

Public works director Mike Hansen said if the city no longer leased the lot, it wouldn’t be responsible for upkeep, such as sweeping and plowing, and wouldn’t hold any liability. Hansen suggested asking the nearby dentist’s office if it would like to lease the lot, as he sees that business as the primary beneficiary of the lot.

Whether or not the city holds onto the lease, Hansen said, the city will need to seal the lot this year. The city will also sweep the lot this year.

The council decided to wait a month before renewing the city’s lease in order to talk to the dentist’s office. The matter will be revisited at the council’s next meeting Tuesday, May 14.

Public safety

Pine River Police Chief Paul Sand reported 109 calls in March, including 21 traffic, 31 medicals, 10 agency assists, six accidents and three drug-related.

Sand said the department is looking into the possibility of lowering the speed limit on Mill Street to 25 miles per hour from Barclay Avenue to County Road 1. Sand said the department has received complaints about speeding in that area. The council decided a public hearing will be held on the matter, but a date was not set for that meeting.

Fire chief Kevin Kleiner reported April 9 that the department responded to one small fire, one building collapse and one car accident since the March 12 council meeting.

The council and fire department are looking into the fire department explorer program, which would allow young people to learn about the department, but decided to ensure it has adequate insurance first.

Ride with Us Bus

Val Kuschel told the council that the Ride with Us Bus saw 519 passengers in March. Kuschel held talks with Mann Lake Bee Supply for employee transportation, but because the arrangement would be labeled a charter service for Mann’s evening shift, and not a public service, the city and Mann Lake were unable to reach an agreement.

In other business Tuesday, April 9, the council:

• Proclaimed May 10 and 11 as Buddy Poppy Days.

• Approved a contract for police services with Pine River-Backus School District.

• Hired new member of the fire department, Crystal Thompson, contingent on her passing the fire department physical.

• Decided it will wait a month before reviewing letters of interest for the vacant council position. Letters are still being accepted for the council seat vacated by Ron Derksen on March 12.

• Heard that cleanup days have been set for May 21 and 22.

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Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889
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