U.S. Rep. Angie Craig, a Democrat, submitted a request for the city of Shakopee to receive nearly $10 million to help stabilize the area’s riverbank — a project estimated to cost $12.5 million overall.
Over the past few years, city officials and experts on the Minnesota River have been concerned that if the riverbank in Shakopee isn’t stabilized soon, a rising river could erode the nearby Native American burial mounds and damage vital sanitary sewers that service the western part of the city.
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux’s three largest native burial grounds lie on this corridor, and because of river flooding and erosion, this historic piece of land is in danger. When the river floods, the city’s sanitary sewers are in danger as well. Flooding causes 40 of the city’s sanitary sewers located near the banks to become inundated with water, which means emergency repairs become difficult. The residents serviced by these sewers comprise 20% of Shakopee’s population and are mostly on the city’s west end.
Shakopee’s Parks and Trails Master Plan drafts a cultural corridor along the riverbank that would educate visitors on the history of the area and honor its cultural and archeological significance. But the first step, city leaders say, is stabilizing the riverfront to protect that land.
The concept plan for mitigating Shakopee’s water level problem would be to slant the river bank so it floods naturally. When water levels are lower, the river bank will be walkable, and when they are higher, that area would be designated for flooding.
The total cost for this project would be in the neighborhood of $12.5 million, according to the city. The riverfront stabilization has support from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Scott County Historical Society and the Lower Minnesota River Watershed District, but other future partners include the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Army Corp of Engineers, Scott County and Three Rivers Park District, according to the city.
The project timing and status are dependent on federal funding.
Craig’s funding request was submitted May 27 through Community Project Funding for the fiscal year 2022, in which members of congress are able to request funding for up to 10 projects in their districts.
The House Appropriations Committee, according to the press release, intends to fund community projects on a limited basis. The request for funding was supported by city of Shakopee Engineer and Public Works Director Steve Lillehaug.
“We are confident that the legislatures will value the city’s championing this mutual benefitting and environmentally important project,” Lillehaug said in a statement to the newspaper.