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Pine River: Council seeks preliminary design to replace dam

A photo of the Crookston Rapids shows a completed version of a riffle dam. Source: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources1 / 2
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After years of discussing replacement of the obsolete Pine River Dam, the Pine River City Council agreed to seek a preliminary design for a rock riffle replacement.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation declared the current dam obsolete and in need of repair more than five years ago. The city has been gathering information for possible replacement options ever since. Discussions have included such options as replacing the dam with a structure similar to the one there now, repairing the current structure or replacing the structure completely with a lower cost, stationary rock riffle design.

The council's Tuesday, Dec. 12, decision to seek a preliminary design was a major step toward actually replacing the dam.

Pine River Public Works Director Mike Hansen and City Engineer Bryan Drown have been researching rock riffle dams, including visiting existing dams in other communities, and providing updates to the council for months. While the rock riffle design was not popular in early discussion, it has since become a preferred option.

Drown said the city may qualify for funding from the Public Facilities Authority. In some communities, that authority has provided as much as $1 million toward similar projects. There are other possible funding sources as well.

The preliminary design cost is $24,200, which could be reimbursed by any funding the city receives.

Tax levy

The council approved a general tax levy of $478,008 for 2018, which is the same as this year. The flat budget was made possible, in part, thanks to a 2016 decision to contract with Cass County for city prosecutions, which helped to reduce this year's budget. That reduction will continue to benefit the city in 2018, in addition to the retirement of long-term city employees. City Clerk Terri Dabill said the budget did not change much, overall, compared to this year's budget.

In other business Dec. 12, the council:

• Approved licensing for charitable gambling for the annual Booster Club Ice Castle raffle.

• Approved an on-sale liquor license, a Sunday liquor license and amusement/jukebox licenses for the PIne River American Legion; an off-sale liquor license for Barstock Liquors; and liquor licenses for the sale of 3.2 beer, on sale and Sunday sales as well as an amusement/jukebox license for the Community Bowl & Pizzeria.

• Approved a refuse hauler license for Nisswa Sanitation.

• Approved a pawn shop license for Iron Hills North pawn shop.

• Announced city hall will be closed after noon Friday, Dec. 22, as well as all day Mondays, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.