The Pine River City Council swore in Mayor Jim Sabas on Tuesday, Jan. 8, after he was re-elected in November. Council members Tamara Hansen and Ron Derksen were absent but will be sworn in by City Clerk Wanda Mongan at a later date.
City Engineer Bryan Brown updated the council on preparations being done for road work to be done on First Street in 2014. This work was approved last year to secure county funding. Brown also discussed Safe Routes to School, another program from last year.
With this program, the council hopes to pave a safe walking trail behind the Pine River Square Apartments and Townhomes. This route would bring students from the school to Second Street, and then to the First Lutheran Church, where pizza parties are often held after sporting events.
In addition, street lamps would likely be constructed to shed light on the alley during darker months.
Safe Routes to School has been discussed in the past; however, it has been turned down because of funding issues. Last year the state allotted money for grants to train crosswalk guards and supplying crosswalk materials, but not funding for infrastructure. Brown will assess the Safe Routes to School project to make it more appealing to the state and increase the likelihood of being awarded a grant.
In other business Jan. 8, the council:
• Discussed developing a city website. The council currently shares the Pine River Chamber of Commerce website where it has a city page. If the city had a site of its own, it would be able to post more council related documents.
• Approved a policy allowing city workers to bring city vehicles home overnight with prior approval from a supervisor.
• Gave Police Chief Paul Sand permission to bring his police car home at night.
• Approved reimbursement to be paid to Stan Miller for constructing a taxi lane at the municipal airport. This reimbursement is contingent on evidence that the taxi lane was built to FAA specifications. The city is also researching whether the state will reimburse the city for these funds.
• Approved a request by Ryan Nelson, of Jr.’s No. 19, for the closure of Barclay Avenue from Highway 371 to River Street on May 4 to make parking space for a car show and street dance. This approval was contingent upon approval from the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the majority of the businesses in the affected area. Nelson is also seeking a nonprofit organization to sponsor a strong beer and wine license for the event.
• Named The Pine River Journal as the official newspaper and Pine River State Bank, US Bank, First National Bank of Walker and Lakes State Bank as official depositories. These were all unchanged from last year. The city attorney (Ted Lundrigan) and city engineer (Bolton & Menk) were likewise unchanged.