The Burnsville City Council approved Buck Hill’s request for an interim use permit on July 18 and an amendment to a planned unit development allowing the skiing facility to hold up to six concerts a year for as many as 4,500 people.

Buck Hill co-owner David Solner had proposed creating a permanent amphitheater for summer concerts, but some residents had concerns about noise, traffic and safety. The planning commission unanimously recommended approving the permit and amendment but suggested attaching several conditions.

Among them: the City Council must review the permit after a year; Buck Hill must revise the parking plan; and it must submit another noise study showing that the site meets local and state regulations. In addition, music must end by 9:30 p.m., lighting must be off by 10 p.m., and “No parking” signs must be placed in adjacent neighborhoods during concerts.

Co-owner Don McClure said he was unaware of complaints that people were cutting through lawns and parking in nearby residential neighborhoods to watch fireworks displays over Buck Hill. He vowed to work with neighbors and the city to address the issues as they arise.

Erin Adler


City OKs making old station into arts center

The Eagan City Council voted July 18 to let the city’s old fire administration building be converted into an arts center despite objections from some residents.

Art Works Eagan, a nonprofit agency, signed an agreement earlier this year to buy the 12,700 square foot building at 3795 Pilot Knob Road for $500,000. The group wanted to create artists’ studios, a gallery, performance space and a workshop but needed a conditional use permit from the City Council.

Clean Air Eagan, a group composed of residents from a nearby neighborhood, opposed the project. Among their concerns were noise, traffic, parking issues and pollution. They were especially worried about fumes that might be emitted by pottery kilns.

Sean Boodoo of Clean Air Eagan was disappointed with the council’s decision and said the city was determined to push the project forward no matter what issues arose.

“The council just shrugged off our many concerns and barely added any conditions to help overcome the issues,” Boodoo said.

Eagan’s Advisory Planning Commission had recommended the city approve the permit on June 27.

Erin Adler


City finally obtains photo of fallen officer

July 10 marked the 123rd anniversary of the death of Albert Jacobson, a Hastings police officer who was killed in the line of duty in 1894.

For several years, the Hastings Police Department has tried to find relatives of Jacobson to obtain photos or other memorabilia to supplement the few newspaper articles they’d gathered about him.

Earlier in the summer, Gloria Hagestuen, a fifth-generation descendant of Jacobson, contacted the chief, according to the Hastings city newsletter. Hagestuen met with Chief Bryan Schafer on the anniversary of Jacobson’s death and shared with him the only known photos of Jacobson. The department hopes to do some type or permanent memorial or shrine, the newsletter said.

Jacobson died after chasing two burglary suspects near a rail yard, according to city documents, which cited articles in the Hastings Democrat, a local newspaper. One of the suspects fired at Jacobson and his partner and Jacobson was hit in the abdomen. He was able to fire off one return shot as he fell. His partner fired five shots, but suspect John Ivan escaped by jumping into the river and swimming across. Ivan was later captured after getting stuck in the mud. About 1,500 people gathered at the jail to tried unsuccessfully to lynch Ivan and his partner.

Ivan was sentenced to life in prison after his original death sentence was commuted by the governor, the Hastings Gazette reported.

The Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C. added Jacobson’s name in 1997. To date, seven Dakota County law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty. Jacobson was the first. The most recent was Mendota Heights Police Officer Scott Patrick, who was shot on July 30, 2014, according to Dakota County documents.

Erin Adler


Paisley Park fence repaired after vandalism

City workers repaired a chain-link fence near the Paisley Park this week after vandals twisted the metal to near collapse and spray-painted offensive messages on the pavement.

The fence was built to keep pedestrians from entering the Riley Creek corridor, but Prince’s fans turned it into a memorial to Prince after his accidental overdose death on April 21, 2016.

Residents reported that fence had been damaged and marked the pavement with language that the city’s Parks and Recreation department deemed offensive, as well as the words “Boycott Mayte” — a reference to Prince’s first wife, Mayte Garcia.

Chanhassen Mayor Denny Laufenburger announced on his Facebook page that the fence would be repaired and the graffiti painted over.

“I’m sure that you all understand that it is not possible to intervene against all those who would choose to do acts of vandalism and hate,” Laufenburger wrote. “I’ve said in the past that we will not interfere with the public expression of sentiments regarding Paisley Park and Prince, unless they become offensive and a threat to the general public.”

The policy also applies to messages left inside the Riley Creek tunnels, which lead visitors from Lake Ann Park under Hwy. 5 to the gate outside Paisley Park, Prince’s studio and recording complex. Graffiti memorials there are left untouched unless they “become violent, offensive or threatening,” Laufenburger said.

Prince’s untimely death drew fans from all over the world to the complex’s permanent fence around the grounds — a separate structure from the one vandalized. People paid their respects by leaving photos, paintings, signs, flowers and other items. Some of those mementos are preserved for visitors inside the museum.

Liz Sawyer