City of Van Buren

  • Pop: 747
  • Mayor: Mike Hoerner - City offices 1301 Main Street, City Hall 573-323-4335
  • City Clerk: Gerri Flatt
  • City Treasurer: Gerri Flatt
  • Education: Elementary, Middle School, High School
  • Healthcare: Big Springs Medical - Van Buren
  • Recreation: Current River, Big Springs State Park, Mark Twain National Forest

The City of Van Buren, located in Carter County, is a fourth class municipality with city offices at 1301 Main Street. Visitors from all over the country come to visit the world's largest natural spring at Big Spring's State Park. Economic development for Van Buren is conducted by the city and the Ozark Foothills Regional Planning Commission.

According to the 2020 census, Mayor Mike Hoerner and the four-member city council serve a population of 747. Van Buren has three full-time policemen and a volunteer Fire Department staff of 12. In 2020, the City of Van Buren's median household income was $22,917.

In 2020, the unemployment rate of Carter County was 2.5 percent, with an available workforce of 3,269. The average hourly wage for the county is $14.56. The county's major employers include East Carter County R-2 School District, with 130 employees; Van Buren R-2 School District, with 95 employees; Royal Oak Enterprises, a manufacturer of wood products, with 67 workers; The Landing, a popular vacation resort with canoe/tube rental and restaurant, employing 50 workers; Riverways Manor, a nursing home facility, with 40 employees; and McLane Forest Products, a lumber wholesaler, with 17 employees.

Ozark Border Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Poplar Bluff, provides electric power for the City of Van Buren. The city itself provides water for its residents from its own well. The water plant has a capacity of 576,000 gallons per day, with peak consumption being 325,000 gallons per day. The plant has a storage capacity of 225,000 gallons. Sewer services are provided by the city through operation of its own oxidation ditch. The plant has a capacity of 144,000 gallons.

The residents of Van Buren obtain telephone and internet services from AT&T, Black River, Boycom, Brightspeed, Sparklight, and Windstream. 

The City of Van Buren has one dental clinic and two medical clinics within the city limits including Big Springs Medical. 

There are three public educational institutions in Van Buren: an elementary, middle, and high school. The nearest public community college, Three Rivers College, is located in Poplar Bluff and boasts an approximate enrollment of 2,700. Southeast Missouri State University, a public four-year college located in Cape Girardeau, MO, is the nearest higher learning facility. 

Residents in Van Buren and Carter County travel U.S. Hwy. 60 and D Highway. It is approximately 20 miles to the nearest four-lane thoroughfare and 100 miles to the nearest interstate interchange.

Van Buren has its own 2,600-foot runway airport within the city limits. It has a paved and lighted runway. The nearest commercial airport is Cape Girardeau Regional Airport in Cape Girardeau, MO, a distance of 120 miles away.

Residents have a choice of four local financial institutions. First Midwest Bank of the Ozarks has combined assets of $678,883,000. Southern Missouri Bank and Trust combined assets are $3.1 billion. The Bank of Grandin and Sterling Bank, which has combined assets of approximately $1.3 billion.

Two weekly newspapers are available in Van Buren. 

Community facilities include one Catholic church, twelve Protestant churches and one non-denominational. There are six hotels/motels and one public library. Within a 20-mile radius, residents may enjoy one country club, one golf course which is open to the public, two public parks, and a public tennis court.

The nearest public access stream is the beautiful Current River (part of Ozark National Scenic Riverways). Residents and tourists enjoy camping, fishing, hiking/fitness/nature trails, boating, canoe and tube floating, and swimming. Other attractions include the world's largest natural spring at Big Spring's State Park, Mark Twain National Forest, Watercress Park, and Skyline Drive. Average temperatures for Van Buren range from 21 degrees Fahrenheit in January to 91 degrees Fahrenheit in July. 

All the numbers below are preceded by area code "573." Last updated 12/30/2010.

To make accommodation arrangements when visiting The Current River or Big Spring, please review the following list:

  • Big Spring Lodge and Restaurant- 323-4423
  • Big Spring Road Motel - 323-8128
  • Big Spring RV Camp - 323-8328
  • Cabins on the Lake - 323-4770
  • Hawthorne Motel - 323-4274
  • The Landing and Rosecliff Lodge - 323-8433 /
  • M & M on M - 323-4138
  • Rising Sun Retreat - 323-0195
  • River Cabins of Van Buren - 323-9204
  • Starlight Motel - 323-4673

When planning canoe and/or tube outings, consult the following list:

  • Big Spring Canoe and Tube Rental - 323-4550
  • The Landing & Rosecliff Lodge-Canoe & Tube Rental - 323-8433
  • Van Buren Campground - 323-4562
  • Yogi Bear Jellystone Campground - 323-4447

For dining purposes, please see the following list:

  • Big Springs Dining Lodge - 323-4332
  • Blue Heron Restaurant - 323-8433
  • Cartoon Cafe (Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park) - 323-4447
  • Jolly Cone Drive-In - 323-4318
  • The Log Cabin Restaurant (located in Ellsinore) - 322-9300
  • Smalley's Convenience - 323-8245

Also, for entertainment, make sure to visit the 21-Drive-In Theatre (945-2121) and experience a movie under the stars, or enjoy the tunes of local bands at The Landing (323-8433) while dining along The Current River.

The city is represented by 153rd District State Representative Darrell Atchison (R) and 25th District State Senator Jason Bean (R). U.S. Representative Jason Smith (R) represents Van Buren in the Eighth Congressional District.