PINE RIVER -- The city of Pine River, known for the river that bears its name, boasts the only public transportation offered in Cass County.
While the city only has about 950 residents, it has its own public transportation system unlike many communities its size.
For a $1.50 round-trip fare, residents can catch a ride on the Pine River Ride With Us bus to go to the medical clinic, bank, the grocery stores or the city library. For many of the city's elderly residents, the bus is the greatest reason why they are able to continue living on their own. The public transportation has been offered to residents since 1978, but it was a community van, not a bus that took residents where they needed to go.
The Pine River "Ride With Us" bus is the only public transportation offered within Cass County. The city of Pine River purchased a new 11-passenger bus with wheelchair lift in 2004. Brainerd Dispatch/File photo
In 2004, the city bought a new 11-passenger bus equipped with a wheelchair lift. The bus is used by about 20-25 people each weekday. The bus costs the city about $10,000 a year to offer the bus service. And many city residents and officials are happy to pay for the service.
"They really feel strongly that it's a valuable service," said Barbara Jorgenson, Pine River transit administrator.
The Pine River Fire Department now has a team of First Responders, a program implemented in 2004.
The city in 2004 also implemented plans to protect its drinking water. In November, the city began adding chlorine to its water as a safety precaution. Mike Hansen, the city's maintenance supervisor, said the city had a problem again in 2004 with a harmless bacteria that showed up in the city's water supply so the city council approved the recommendation by the state to implement a chlorine program.
The city also annexed just under 40 acres to put in new hangars at the Pine River Regional Airport. The added land allows for 14 new single hangars. Other improvements also are planned at the airport.
Major employers: Whispering Pines Good Samaritan Village, Pine River-Backus School District, Houston Ford Inc. and Jerry's Super Valu.
Notable attractions: Paul Bunyan Trail, Pine River Depot.
Notable events: Summerfest, Pine River Duck Races, Cass County Fair, fishing seminars, Lakers Car Show and Swap Meet and Parade of Lights and Christmas program.
The city had about 23 building permits issued in 2004, said city clerk Wanda Mongan. Most of those permits were for remodeling and signage for existing homes and businesses. Al Berans added a telemarketing company in the city. The building also has room for leased office space.
In 2004, the city partnered with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to upgrade its undersized stormwater retention pond on Second Street near Norway Avenue. The city also extended a wastewater main on Oxford Avenue for a potential seven single-family home development.
The city has been researching the potential for a water treatment plant. It remains in the planning stages.
JODIE TWEED can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5858.
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