PIERZ -- There must be something in the water in Pierz.
Pierz normally sees an average of four new homes each year and in 2004 the number of new homes jumped to 17. The city expects this trend to continue.
Pierz Mayor Mike Menden said people want to live in Pierz for its small-town atmosphere. He said 65 percent of the residents drive 30 miles or more to work.
There are two housing developments in Pierz. River Park Estates is a three-phased project in the second phase. The second development is Karst's.
Pierz saw an increase in home construction this year. A total of 17 homes were built. On average, only four homes are built each year. Brainerd Dispatch/Nels Norquist
Pierz City Administrator Lynn Fabro said, "Pierz is growing because it is a great place to live. People like a small-town atmosphere to raise their children. People can have their children play in the neighborhood and be safe and not worry about them. Plus we are an acceptable driving distance to the bigger towns.
"Pierz offers you what you need."
Fabro said Pierz is not growing as fast as the bigger towns, but it is growing. In 2005, two developers will be adding more lots.
The business community also is growing. In November, ground was broken for an assisted living facility, which will open in March. The facility will have 20 units.
Two new businesses can be seen on Main Street, Old Star Crafts and On the Weekend. The Knotty Pine Cafe also reopened this year.
Menden, who grew up in Pierz, said he remembers when the town had three cafes and three hardware stores.
Major employers: Red Wood Industries, Pierz School District, Red's Auto and Bait and Thielen Meats.
Notable attractions: Pierz Municipal Golf Course and Campgrounds.
Notable events: Oktoberfest.
"Competition is getting tough," he said. "If the super center is built in Little Falls it definitely will affect us."
Menden said in 2005 the city will work on filling the industrial park. There are 13 lots and only two are filled.
"We need to get this going," he said.
Menden said 2004 was mainly a planning year and the city will see progress in 2005, beginning on New Year's weekend. Menden said the city plans for the first time to host dog sled races on its golf course.
This will be the city's second annual event. The city's main event is its Oktoberfest, which is planned the last Sunday in August. Oktoberfest includes a two-hour parade and an antique and flea market.
The community also had an exciting end of the year, when the Pierz Pioneers captured their first Class 2A state football title with a 39-14 victory over the Eden Valley-Watkins Eagles.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5851.
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