Opinion | Trust

Opinion: Work with Shakopee Tribe on land-into-trust agreement

A tribally-constructed building in Prior Lake, Minnesota. Photo from SMSC

Mayor Ken Hedberg of Prior Lake, Minnesota, discloses ongoing negotiations for a land use agreement with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
Shortly after I was elected mayor, the city manager and I began a regular series of informal meetings with the tribal chairman and tribal administrator. We meet every eight weeks or so, discussing topics of mutual interest. Early on, I raised the issue of Prior Lake's annexation area in Spring Lake Township. I stressed how important that area was to the city's long-term future, how critical the Menden property was to opening the annexation area for development, how many millions the city had already invested in anticipation of future development and how serious an issue it would be for the city should the SMSC acquire land holdings there. I also noted that the city needed to work with whomever purchased the Menden land, that we knew the SMSC had expressed interest over many years and that they were a potential buyer.

Over the past two years, several observations are worth noting. Even as the SMSC expanded their land holdings to the southwest, next to the annexation area, they have steered clear of any property acquisitions there. We learned that their interest is developing the land between Spring Lake Regional Park and Howard Lake as a residential neighborhood, and that they would only develop the land after it's placed in trust status.

Several potential buyers pursued discussions with the Menden family while the family contacted the SMSC. The SMSC was the successful bidder and closed on the purchase in September 2014. Then, the chairman and I asked the tribal administrator and city manager to begin crafting a cooperative agreement that would meet the needs of both communities. The SMSC agreed to include a clause in the agreement indicating they don't intend on acquiring land in our annexation area, and if a transaction emerges, they will enter into good-faith negotiations to address the impact on our utilities infrastructure.

Get the Story:
Ken Hedberg: Tribe trust land agreement would benefit city, mayor says (SWNewsMedia.com 1/19)

Related Stories:
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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