Rev. Pond Statue Fundraising

A committee of local residents is fundraising to commission a bronze statue of the missionary Samuel W. Pond for display on the River City Centre plaza. The Pond statue and installation is estimated to cost up to $125,000.

Tax-deductible donations to the statue project can be made online or sent via check to the City of Shakopee, Attn: Joy Sutton, 485 Gorman St., Shakopee MN 55379.

Mock up in clay of statue

About Rev. Pond

Arriving in Minnesota in 1834 with his brother Gideon, Samuel Pond is best known as a missionary, teacher and translator to the Dakota tribe.

Settling in a region which is now Minneapolis, the brothers taught Dakota tribes European farming practices and conducted their missionary work. Here, they began translating the Dakota language into English. Over the span of 40 years, they translated the first Dakota alphabet into English (known as the Pond-Dakota alphabet and still used, today), the Bible into Dakota and eventually, the first Dakota – English dictionary.

Rev. Pond was invited by Ŝakpe II (Chief Shakopee II) to relocate his family, wife Cordelia Eggleston Pond and their three children, to the Dakota prairie village called Tiŋta-otoŋwe, located near the present City of Shakopee. In 1847, the Ponds built the first framed structure in the area, which served as a school and missionary. In 1855, Samuel Pond founded the First Presbyterian Church, serving as its pastor for 13 years. While not the original church structure, the First Presbyterian Church continues to serve the community today on Shakopee Avenue and Marschall Road.

Samuel Pond died on Dec. 12, 1891, at the age of 83, and his headstone can be found at Valley Cemetery in Shakopee. 

The city invested in a downtown improvement project intended to enhance the visibility and vitality of its historic downtown and improve its public spaces to increase a sense of place for its heart of the community.

Based on funding available and the needs of downtown, three projects were identified to be completed in the first phase:

River City Plaza

A new entry feature at the end of the Highway 101 bridge, including landscaping, signage and public art. Creates a visual link to First Avenue where there will also be new landscaping, paving and public art.

Gateway Plaza

An entry gateway at the First Avenue East intersection with Highway 101. Includes landscaping on both sides of First Avenue and in the median, as well as specialty pavement, public sculpture and crosswalks to Huber Park.

Lewis Street Parking Lot

Reconstruction of parking lot using asphalt paving with exception along Lewis Street frontage. Includes demolition of sidewalks and parking lot and installation of pavers or colored concrete on Lewis Street, concrete curbing, power modules, lighting, a rain garden median and silva cells for trees that will support tree growth and help in surface water management. The new parking lot maintains all but two parking spaces.


Loucks, Inc. hired to conduct downtown implementation plan EDA  May 3, 2016 
Preliminary design approval  City Council Jan. 17, 2017 
WSB & Associates hired to prepare bid documents City Council Feb. 21, 2017 
Approval of design; authorization to seek bids  City Council June 6, 2017 
Contracts awarded  City Council  July 18, 2017 
Construction begins   Aug. 1, 2017
 Lewis Street parking lot reopened   Oct. 30, 2017 
 Chief Sakpe statue installed Artist Denny Haskew Nov. 22, 2017
 Chief Sakpe statue dedicated City  Nov. 28, 2017 


The three proposed projects are estimated to cost $2.21 million ($1.9 million in construction). Funding sources:

  • $1.5 million from the city's Economic Development Fund, set aside over three years
  • $300,000 from the Capital Improvements Fund for Lewis Street parking lot and alley
  • $350,000 from Storm Water Fund for Lewis Street parking lot
  • $30,000 from city tree fund for landscaping
  • $30,000 from a Scott County Community Development Agency grant


Potential Future Improvements

As part of the public realm study, the city's consultants identified several additional potential improvements to the downtown, including:

  • Complete Phase 2 of Huber Park
  • Connect to the pedestrian bridge
  • Enhance existing streetscape
  • Create a gateway into downtown
  • Develop a multi-use parking lot
  • Create an entrance feature at bridge
  • Develop a park linkage to the underpass