Prior Lake, Minnesota
|Prior Lake, Minnesota|
|— City —|
|Scott County and the state of Minnesota|
|• Mayor||Mike Myser|
|• City Manager||Frank Boyles|
|• City||18.33 sq mi (47.47 km2)|
|• Land||15.44 sq mi (39.99 km2)|
|• Water||2.89 sq mi (7.49 km2) 15.77%%|
|Elevation||948 ft (289 m)|
|• Estimate (2011)||23,261|
|• Density||1,476.4/sq mi (570.0/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||Central (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||0649740|
Prior Lake is a city 20 miles (32 km) southwest of downtown Minneapolis in Scott County in the U.S. state of Minnesota. Surrounding the shores of Lower and Upper Prior Lake, the city lies south of the Minnesota River in an area known as South of the River and establishes the urban fringe of the south-southwest portion of Minneapolis-St. Paul, the sixteenth largest metropolitan area in the United States. The population of Prior Lake was 22,796 at the 2010 census.
Seen as the sister city of Shakopee, Prior Lake was incorporated as a village in 1891, Prior Lake is one of the oldest southern metro cities to have been absorbed by suburban growth. Along with Shakopee, the city is also experiencing reclamation to native habitat via land purchases by the Shakopee-Mdewakanton Indian Reservation, where Mystic Lake Casino and Little Six Casino are located. The city's modern growth is attributed to the completion and upgrade of State Highway 13.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.33 square miles (47.47 km2), of which 15.44 square miles (39.99 km2) is land and 2.89 square miles (7.49 km2) is water.
Upper Prior Lake and Lower Prior Lake sit at the center of the city in an elongated shape towards the southwest to Spring Lake. Prior Lake as a whole is the largest lake in the southern metro area.
As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was $75,363, and the median income for a family was $81,011. The per capita income for the city was $32,089. About 1.7% of families and 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line.
2010 census 
As of the census of 2010, there were 22,796 people, 8,447 households, and 6,211 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,476.4 inhabitants per square mile (570.0 /km2). There were 8,882 housing units at an average density of 575.3 per square mile (222.1 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.0% White, 1.5% African American, 1.6% Native American, 3.0% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 2.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.1% of the population.
There were 8,447 households out of which 40.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.3% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 26.5% were non-families. 20.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.14.
The median age in the city was 37.8 years. 28.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 28.9% were from 25 to 44; 27.4% were from 45 to 64; and 9.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.7% male and 50.3% female.
Government and politics 
Prior Lake is governed by a mayor and four council members serving at large. The city Mayor and Council are elected non-partisan. The city mayor is Mike Myser who won election in 2009 after the previous mayor, Jack Haugen, decided not to run for reelection. The council members are Warren Erickson, Ken Hedberg, Richard Keeney, and Vanessa Soukup. The city is run by a City Manager, Frank Boyles. The city is in Minnesota Legislative District 35A. The district 35 Senator is Claire Robling (R). The district 35A Representative is Michael Beard (Republican).
Prior Lake is located in Minnesota's 2nd congressional district, represented by John Kline, a Republican, who is conservative on a variety of social issues, scoring 2.8% progressive on a range of issues and 88% conservative based on 2006 House votes.
Portions of the Shakopee Mdwakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) tribal lands are within the boundary of the City of Prior Lake as annexed in 1972. The SMSC is a federally recognized Indian tribe formally organized under federal reservation status in 1969. The overlap of a Minnesota Statutory City with federally recognized Indian Tribal lands resulted in litigation to clarify the boundary and voting rights. In a 1984 United States District Court ruling, the court affirmed that the municipal boundary of the City of Prior Lake did include the tribal lands in question. The Court further clarified that the tribal residents were thus residents of the City of Prior Lake entitled to vote in municipal elections and to emergency police, fire, and rescue services. The Court ordered the City to provide emergency services on an equal basis as all other residents even though the federal trust status of the tribal lands deprives the City of the authority to tax the tribal lands to fund such services. In recent years, the SMSC has paid the City of Prior Lake for the cost of those emergency services on a voluntary basis.
Government of the SMSC tribal lands is rooted in the tribal General Council consisting of all enrolled members of the Tribe age 18 and older. The General Council elects a three-person tribal Business Council every fours years which is responsible for the day to day operations of the Tribe. The present SMSC Business Council is: Chairman Charlie Vig, Vice-Chairman Keith B. Anderson, and Secretary/Treasurer Lori Watso.
Arts, culture and media 
Following the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre, journalist Elinor Burkett spent a year following students and teachers in Prior Lake High School. She chose Prior Lake as her subject because it was found to be virtually identical to Columbine demographically. She documented her experience in the book Another Planet: A Year in the Life of a Suburban High School (ISBN 0-06-050585-0).
The Mystic Showroom at the Mystic Lake Casino and Hotel in Prior Lake is an entertainment venue thet frequently features A-list musical and comedy performers.
The high school students of Prior Lake attend Prior Lake High School in the neighboring town of Savage. It hosts two Middle Schools - Hidden Oaks and Twin Oaks - which serve students in grades 6-8. Grade levels K through 5 are served by the following schools:
- Edgewood School
- Five Hawks Elementary
- Glendale Elementary
- Grainwood Elementary
- Jeffers Pond Elementary
- Westwood Elementary
- Redtail Ridge
Prior Lake also has a private Roman Catholic parochial school, St. Michael Catholic School, which serves grades PreK through 8. Prior Lake also has a Lutheran church Missouri Synod parochial school,St. Paul's Lutheran School Prior Lake, which serves children from infant through grade 8.
Notable people 
- John Robert Roach, Archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis (1975–1995) was born in Prior Lake on July 31, 1921.
- Jordan Schroeder, born September 29, 1990 is an ice hockey player chosen by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2009 NHL draft.
Prior Lake is made up of two sections, Upper and Lower Prior Lake. The area of each is 354 and 810 acres (3.3 km2) respectively. The two parts of the lake are connected by a channel that runs under county road 21. Prior Lake is an extremely popular lake for both fishing and water sports. Prior Lake is also popular with snowmobilers and can be accessed using the Scott County Snowmobile Trail and other designated trails in the winter. On April 10, 2009, zebra mussel shells were discovered on the shore of Lower Prior Lake. On April 14, the DNR confirmed that the zebra mussels were also in Upper Prior Lake.
The easterly portion of Spring Lake along County Road 12 is also located within the City of Prior Lake limits. Spring Lake, with 290 acres, but being a few minutes further out from the metro area offers similar recreational opportunities as Upper Prior Lake with a more rural character and less traffic. Spring Lake, being several feet higher in elevation, flows into Upper Prior Lake via a non-navigable spillway and culvert under County Road 12.
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-13.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-13.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-03.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
- "History of Prior Lake". City of Prior Lake. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
- "Shakopee-Mdewakanton Sioux Community". Retrieved 2007-10-18.
- Grossman, Joshua. "ProgressivePunch Leading with the Left". All Issues. ProgressivePunch. Retrieved 2006-10-27.
- "ACU Ratings of Congress, 2006". American Conservative Union. 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-09-03. Retrieved 2007-09-08.
- United States District Court, District of Minnesota, Third Division. Shakopee Mdwakanton Sioux Community v. City of Prior Lake, Minnesota. Sep 5, 1984
- "Shakopee Mdwakanton Sioux Community - Tribal Government".
- City website
- Prior Lake Association website
- Prior Lake / Savage Area Schools site
- Prior Lake American Newspaper Web Site