City leaders to work closely with Shakopee Tribe on road project

This aerial map shows the location of the proposed road in Prior Lake, Minnesota. The city plans to extend Stemmer Ridge Road, highlighted in blue in the lower center of the map, to County Road 82, also in blue. The road will impact property owned by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. County Road 82 leads directly to the reservation, including tribal businesses like Dakotah! Sport & Fitness, seen at the very top of the map. Image from Google Maps

Top leaders in Prior Lake, Minnesota, will negotiate directly with their counterparts in the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community on a road project that's proven controversial among non-Indians.

The city plans to extend a road to another road that leads directly to the reservation. The tribe owns a 95-acre property that will be impacted by the project.

The city and the tribe began talks for a joint agreement last fall. But they appeared to be moving slowly because they involved staffers on both sides who then had to report back to their respective governing bodies.

To speed up negotiations, Mayor Ken Hedberg and city council member Richard Keeney will work directly with tribal leaders. The idea came from the tribe's administrator, The Prior Lake American reported.

"We owe it to the SMSC and the rest of our citizens to not keep putting it off, so two council people negotiating makes a lot of sense," Mike McGuire, a city council member, said at a public meeting on Monday, the paper reported.

The tribe plans to submit an application to the Bureau of Indian Affairs to place the 95-acre property in trust. Plans call for housing, the paper reported.

As part of the joint agreement, the city is expected to support the application, which has some local residents upset because they claim the tribe is too wealthy to follow the land-into-trust process. More than 100 people attended a public meeting last month to voice their opposition, the paper reported.

Get the Story:
Another delay on Stemmer Ridge: council, tribe change negotiation approach (The Prior Lake American 1/27)
Council delays further Stemmer Ridge decisions (The Prior Lake American 1/13)
Stemmer Ridge: residents to square off with city (The Prior Lake American 12/20)

Related Stories
Opinion: Work with Shakopee Tribe on land-into-trust agreement (1/20)
Opinion: No to land-into-trust for Shakopee Sioux Community (1/15)
BIA adds 595 acres to reservation of Shakopee Sioux Community (07/01)

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