Pine River: City seeks bids to close one end of street
City will use abatement to pay for park work.
PINE RIVER — Following two public hearings on the matters, the Pine River City Council agreed to begin the process of turning a portion of River Street and Park Avenue into a cul-de-sac and to use property tax abatement to pay for planned park work.
Council members held public hearings for each matter before their Tuesday, May 10, regular meeting, inviting the public to comment on each during two 15-minute comment periods.
Two residents asked the council questions about the streets. They learned the council plans to close part of the street to convert it to a cul-de-sac. The city then plans to convert the closed section of the street into more green space, connecting the park along the river to its kids park with playground equipment.
A portion of the park will be left with no obstructions, in case the fire department needs to cross the park. That area will not have a path or paving installed for this use.
The two residents were in favor of the change. City Clerk Terri Dabill said they received a number of phone calls on the project, and while some were opposed, the vast majority were in favor of it.
Both hearings were necessary to move forward with extensive work in the city park. In April, council members indicated they wanted to keep park improvements moving while they still had momentum and support from the public following the dam project.
Project goals include:
- Developing property on the southeast corner of the dam to be new park space with parking.
- Relocating the Lions shelter, with permission.
- Constructing a new pavilion with a kitchen and bathrooms.
- Constructing another bathroom on the new parcel.
- Expanding the swimming beach to make up for loss of swimming area closer to the dam.
The city is seeking a $583,000 tax abatement to pay for the project. By using this method, the city secures financing on the project while identifying the parcels that will produce the taxes needed to finance the project. The taxes paid by those parcels act almost as a sort of proof of income as well as collateral.
This way the city can avoid increasing taxes while the abatement is paid for during a 15-year period.
Quotes for the work on the beach are expected as early as the first or second week of June. Because contractors are overwhelmed currently, the project will be split among several contractors, making it easier than securing the commitment of a single company over a long period of time.
In other business May 10, the council agreed to waive a license fee for the Pine River Market Square in exchange for advertising, and planned to look into event congestion signs for the encampment at Forbes Park in the fall.
Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or firstname.lastname@example.org.