Developing Pilot Knob: A History of Controversy.
Pilot Knob Update
“The City of Mendota Heights is nearing completion of its Comprehensive Plan for the next 20 years. While the 25 acres of Pilot Knob that has been purchased already is zoned ‘Open Space’ in the draft, the part owned by the City of MH (Mendota Heights) and south of Acacia Blvd is slated to be zoned ‘Industrial’, to be used like the part further south, presumably. This includes both the open land and the two houses still there on Pilot Knob Road.”
We are mobilizing to oppose this and to persuade the city council of Mendota Heights that it is not a good idea. We will be urging that this land also be zoned “open space.”
This isn’t a new threat, in fact, since Minnesota was first settled it appears to have been a consistent looming possibility that Pilot Knob (which we talked about here) would face development.
- When Fort Snelling was first built, Pilot Knob overlooked the site, it was thought that this might pose a danger, as an enemy could easily overcome the fort from such a position. Pilot Knob was considered as a site for Fort Snelling.
- When The Treaty of Mendota was signed in 1851 Pilot Knob was considered as a site for the capital. However, at that time Alexander Ramsey owned the land on which Pilot Knob rested, and thought it would be too much trouble to transfer it to the government, so St. Paul became the site for the capital.
- Part of Pilot Knob was developed as Acacia cemetary.
- More recently, there has been a struggle to overturn a proposal by a developer who planned a 150-some unit condominium to sit on the peak. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the Dakota and many community advocates this has been turned down.
While I’m a relatively new member of Dakota County, I am devastated by the thought of development on any part of Pilot Knob as a Minnesotan. It seems that the value of this incredible piece of Minnesota heritage is widely overlooked and the issue of its development is unknown to many. I encourage all of you, any of you who have been touched by its significance, to step up, call out and stand up. Protect our history and our heritage, and keep Pilot Knob an Open Space for our children and theirs after them.