18.11.05

mendota heights: Pilot Knob Free for Now

The really old, sacred for Natives hillock Pilot Knob, in Mendota Heights overlooking the airport and Ft. Snelling, has been saved from condo-i-fication. Mendota Heights City Council said no to the developer who was going to build some luxury housing on top of it.

There's a lot of building going on in Mendota Heights lately, and most of it is very good. Along the river, they turned a Highway 13 gravel quarry into luxury homes a few years back, and the Ecolab building at Wachtler and Hwy 13 is being turned into condo housing. Plus, the mixed-use develpment at Dodd Rd. and Hwy 110 is a nice addition, bringing some much-needed retail space into what had been a monolithically residential area.

But there's no reason to create high-visibility housing on one of the most ancient space in the Twin Cities. Pilot Knob is an ancient Indian burial ground, very near to old Mendota, where some of the first houses in Minnesota were built. Plus, Fort Snelling, which already has airplanes going over it all the damn time, didn't need to lose any more of its natural landscape.

According to the Strib piece, the cemetery on Pilot Knob is still trying to sell some of its land, and the neighborhood historical groups are going to have to stay vigilant if they want to keep this space natural.

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