PINE RIVER -- When Pine River State Bank's new building opens next May, the bank will not only offer expanded banking facilities, but also a 600-square foot museum of northern Minnesota wildlife.
Chuck Nelson, chief executive officer, has collected and had mounted birds and animals for many years. An 88-inch black bear greets lobby visitors in the present bank building in downtown Pine River.
Tucked into back corners of the present building and stored at other locations are hunting trophies, victims of road kills and other birds and animals that fell victim to a variety of misfortunes.
There is the goose that used to harass visitors in Pine River's city park until the day it flew into the wall of Norway Brook Apartments. There is a loon that became entangled in a fisherman's monofilament line.
In the new bank, there also will be a full-size elk that was shot by Nelson in the western United States.
Visitors who cannot stop at the new bank during regular business hours will be able to see the wildlife display from the road outside as the museum/lobby will be lighted at night, Nelson said.
Construction on the new half-log sided building with rock-faced trim began this month and is expected to be completed by next April, Nelson said.
The bank building will be the second to occupy space on the Barclay West side of Pine River. Pine River Chamber of Commerce's visitor center opened west of Highway 371 this spring.
The new bank will have 14,800 square feet of usable space, including a half basement and a half second floor.
Banking improvements will include the potential for a third drive-up lane, expanding from four to five teller windows and the addition of a non-banking investment center. The new bank will have more offices and private conference areas for customers to discuss their personal financial issues than the present building affords, Nelson said.
There will be 24-hour drive-up ATM service, he said.
He also expects Cass Company Insurance to rent space in the building, though rental terms have not been finalized.
Pine River State Bank donated a year ago the downtown building it will vacate next spring to the Pine River Library. The bank has leased the building from the library since then for the monthly cost of property taxes, Nelson said.
Once the bank vacates that property, the building will be remodeled and the library relocated from its present location about a block away.
Final details are still pending on a developer's agreement for a tax increment financing district the Pine River City Council approved earlier this year for the new bank site.
Under that agreement when finalized, Nelson said the bank will pay the city $205,000 in a lump sum to install utility lines under the proposed county extension of Barclay Avenue from Highway 371 west to Highway 2. The county construction program calls for paving that road after utilities are in place.
The TIF term is expected to run about eight years, Nelson said. During that time, property taxes will be frozen at the current level before new construction. When the TIF term ends, the new bank property will be taxed based on the improved property valuation.
One of 10 Pine River area businessmen who invested in developing Barclay West, the former Durkee Manufacturing property west of Highway 371, Nelson said he is unsure whether that group will continue a direct development effort or will sell the property to another developer in the future.
This fall, the city of Pine River is processing a second TIF agreement. That TIF proposal calls for re-development of the former meat locker property along Highway 371. It will be replaced by a new off-sale liquor store.
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