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Prior Lake, Minnesota
is a city 20 miles (32 km) southwest of downtown Minneapolis in the U.S. state of Minnesota in Scott County. 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 U.S. Census Bureau recorded the population of the city of Prior Lake at 15,917 people at the 2000 census.
Seen as the sister city of Shakopee, Prior Lake was incorporated as a village in 1851, 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 16.0 square miles (41.5 km²), of which, 13.5 square miles (35.0 km²) of it is land and 2.5 square miles (6.6 km²) of it (15.77%) 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.
In 2007, there are an estimated 19,319 residents. The population density was 1,207 people per square mile (465.52/km²). There were 5,791 housing units at an average density of 428.9/sq mi (165.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.5% White, 0.8% African American, 2.1% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.1% of the population.
In 2000, there were 5,645 households out of which 44.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.3% were married couples living together, 7.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.3% were non-families. 15.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.82 and the average family size was 3.17.
In the city the population was spread out with 30.3% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 37.7% from 25 to 44, 20.7% from 45 to 64, and 4.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 102.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.1 males.
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.
Government and politics
Prior Lake is governed by a mayor and council-members serving at large. The city Mayor and Council are elected non-partisan. The city mayor is Jack Haugen (2002-2010). Mike Myser (2010-) . The city is run by a City Manager. 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.
Arts, culture and media
The Prior Lake American is the main city newspaper. The Savage Pacer is also common in Prior Lake. (Savage is the neighboring city of Prior Lake, they are combined by the school district and it is almost impossible to tell the difference between them).The Star Tribune South Edition also offers some coverage.
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 high school students of Prior Lake attend Prior Lake High School in the neighboring town of Savage. It hosts two Middle Schools - Twin Oaks and Hidden 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
Notable natives and residents
John Robert Roach, Archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis (1975-1995) was born in Prior Lake on July 31, 1921. Jordan Schroeder, born Sep 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 respectively. The two parts of the lake are connected by a channel that runs under county road 21. Prior Lake is an extremely busy lake for both fishing and water sports. It is also busy with snowmobilers using the Scott County Snowmobile Trail in the winter. On April 10, 2009, zebra mussel shells were discovered on the shore of Lower Prior Lake. On April, 14th, the DNR confirmed that the zebra mussels are everywhere in the lake and that it had already been infested for a year or two.
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