I really enjoyed John Diers' community column from June 5 on “small town feel,” and his memories of coming to Prior Lake in the 1950s. It got me thinking, what happened to Prior Lake’s history?
Personally, I feel that Prior Lake stopped being a small town in the mid-1980s, when the leaders started a trend of gutting in the name of growth, a concept of high-end executive living with dreams of multi-level parking ramps and exclusive rooftop restaurants that would transform the town into the new Edina or Minnetonka. Thankfully it never happened.
But where’s our history? The lakeside resorts and railroad are long gone. The buildings and locations that gave character to our area have been torn down, and all trace removed. There’s almost nothing left of Prior Lake’s incredible past.
I look at the cities and towns around us, and the work they put into saving and restoring their historic locations and buildings and I wonder why we couldn’t have done the same. If we want to know where we’re going as a city, we need to know where we’ve been, and that means preserving our past. If other towns can do it, why can’t we?
I encourage the current city administration and community leaders to take that step now and begin to make preserving Prior Lake’s real “small town feel” a priority, instead of just a misleading feel-good slogan.