I’ve been involved with the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program, through SRDC‘s staffing the SW Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs). The League of Minnesota Cities recognized the City of Marshall and others this week at their annual meeting in flood-soaked Duluth for achieving GreenStep goals:
League honors 47 Minnesota GreenStep Cities that have completed steps toward environmental sustainability goals
(June 21, 2012–St. Paul, Minn.) The League of Minnesota Cities recognized 47 member cities today for participation in GreenStep Cities—a free and voluntary program designed to help Minnesota cities achieve their environmental sustainability goals through implementation of 28 best practices. Each best practice can be implemented by completing one or more specific actions from a list of four-to- eight actions in the areas of transportation, buildings and lighting, environmental management, land use, and economic and community development. Those actions are tailored to all types of Minnesota cities, and they focus on cost savings, energy use reduction, and encouraging innovation.
Cities achieve Step One recognition by passing a resolution to become a GreenStep City. Step Two cities have implemented up to eight of the program’s best practices, and Step Three cities have implemented up to 16 of the best practices. A number of cities have completed two of the three steps within a single year. The League of Minnesota Cities recognizes the following 20 cities for achieving a new step in the past year.
The cities recognized for Step One completion this year are Arlington, Austin, Bemidji, Burnsville, Delano, Grand Rapids, Hanover, Lake Elmo, Marshall, Mountain Iron, Newport, Richfield, Rogers, Rosemount, St. Louis Park, Shorewood, Victoria, Warren, White Bear Lake, and Willmar.
Cities completing Step Two include Apple Valley, Austin, Burnsville, Edina, Eden Prairie, Farmington, Newport, Rochester, Rogers, Rosemount, and Royalton.
Four cities completed Step Three: Eagan, Edina, Falcon Heights, and St. Anthony.
The League also recognizes the 18 cities that were honored at Step One or Step Two completion last year and continue to participate in the program.
In addition to the League, GreenStep Cities partnering organizations include the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Division of Energy Resources at the Minnesota Department of Commerce, the Clean Energy Resource Teams, the Great Plains Institute, the Izaak Walton League, and the Urban Land Institute of Minnesota. Cities were recognized at an awards program earlier today at the League of Minnesota Cities Annual Conference in Duluth. This year’s GreenStep Cities awards program was sponsored by Ameresco, CR Planning, Four Seasons Inc., LHB Corporation, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, ORB Management Corporation, and the Weidt Group.
The City of Luverne joined the program last year, but put it on hold due to staff turnover. Several other cities in Southwest Minnesota have expressed interest in joining the program or picking up on best practices.
I like GreenSteps because it takes the best of several national recognition and challenge community economic development programs and adapts them for Minnesota cities. As noted in the press release, GreenStep Cities partners include MPCA, CERTs, LMC, MnDOC Division of Energy, Great Plains Institute, ULI-Minnesota, and the Izaak Walton League-Minnesota.