Pine River Revitalization
Staff Writer of Lake Country Echo and Pine River Journal-News
Projects headed by the group Pine River Revitalization (PRR) began to bear fruit the week of July 15 when on Wednesday the city streets were decked out with new plaid flags and on Friday a cake was cut by none other than Paul Bunyan and shared to officially celebrate Pine River’s new colors.
Residents at Friday’s first Pine River Plaid kickoff event seemed enthusiastic and supportive of PRR’s efforts.
“I think the flags warmed up the downtown. I noticed them right away. I thought it looked just inviting. Any little extra thing you can do to make it look warm and friendly,” said resident Bev Laposky at the kickoff
The flags and celebration were done as a part of an ongoing project undertaken by PRR to market the city of Pine River to excite locals and draw in visitors from the Paul Bunyan Trail and Minnesota Highway 371.
In another victory, PRR has also been meeting with the Pine River City Council, which approved a resolution July 9 to offer its support for PRR’s efforts to have Barclay Avenue redesigned to include bicycle lanes. The city made no monetary commitment, but PRR member Quinn Swanson said that without the support of the city, the Minnesota Department of Transportation was unwilling to truly discuss the development of bicycle lanes.
“I see people trying to get down here and they don’t know where to go exactly. I think it’s really a good safety issue (bike trails) to try to get people down here. It also gets people to the local businesses,” said Laposky.
“I think it’s a great idea, I think the bike trail is a wonderful safety thing, and just a good way to get people to see the rest of our town and our park, and I like the plaid idea,” said Shirley Hovey, also at the kickoff. “It perks up downtown and it represents what our community is really about.”
PRR and groups sharing many of its members have had a hand in various other city improvement projects. These include a playground installed near the Pine River Dam Park, work to have the park reconstructed for both safety and appeal, and the effort to repaint the bathrooms at the city park and the trash cans along Barclay Avenue with help from Teens Leading the Way.
Future projects could include the installation of a much taller flag pole for a flag similar in size to those often seen near car dealerships or Perkins restaurant chains. A bigger flag could attract attention from the highway and trail.
At its July 16 meeting, PRR also began discussing replacement of banners along Barclay Avenue and Highway 371 to match the city’s new plaid theme. The current banners are blue with the names of businesses that helped to sponsor them. The new banners could also feature business sponsorship.
Johnny Inkslinger note: CSAH 1 connects to Barclay Avenue making Pine River one of four 'Gateway' connection points between the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway, Highway 371 (a.k.a. the Paul Bunyan Expressway) and the Paul Bunyan State Trail. To learn more about Pine River see the CSAH 1 Byway Photo Tour pages or vist Pine River Chamber site.