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Park Rapids: A MN GreenStep City?

April 12, 2018

Park Rapids: A MN GreenStep City?

“Park Rapids: A GreenStep City?” To learn more, come to the free program Thursday, April 19, 6 pm at Northwoods Bank in Park Rapids.  Sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Park Rapids Area, Mellissa Birch, Central Coordinator for Clean Energy Resource Teams, will be the featured speaker.  Light refreshments will be served.

Starting in 2007 with statewide listening sessions, the idea was raised of creating a free sustainable cities program that would challenge, assist and recognize cities that were "green stars." In 2008 the Minnesota Legislature directed the MPCA and others to recommend actions cities could take on a voluntary basis. Representatives from dozens of cities, non-profit organizations, businesses and state government agencies provided the outline for what has been developed as the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program in 2010.  Over forty percent of Minnesota citizens presently live in a total of 120 GreenStep Cities, mostly in the metro areas but also scattered throughout rural Minnesota.

Simply put, Minnesota GreenStep Cities is a free and voluntary program that provides a simple pathway to help cities achieve their sustainability goals through implementation of best practices focused on cost savings, energy use reduction, and innovation.  The program provides a list of twenty-nine best practices, divided into the categories of Buildings and Lighting, Transportation, Land Use, Environmental Management, and Economic and Community Development. The twenty-nine best practices are further divided into more than 170 more specific best practices which can be chosen by a city as fits into the particular city’s needs.  But, what’s this “Step” business?

When a city government formally joins the GreenStep program through a city resolution, it is considered a Step One City. Cities that implement a minimum number of best practices of their choice will be recognized as Step Two Cities.  Completion of a few high-priority actions merits Step Three recognition. Measuring city performance metrics will garner Step Four and Step Five recognition. Cities will be credited for sustainability actions completed prior to joining the GreenStep program.  

GreenStep Cities receive peer recognition at the League of Minnesota Cities Annual Conference.  Accomplishments of member cities will be visible on the GreenStep web site, the most comprehensive web site in Minnesota devoted to city sustainability.  But best of all, citizens of GreenStep Cities know that their city is using best practices to achieve among other things, energy and cost saving strategies, natural resource preservation, efficient city growth, walkable and bikeable neighborhoods, well managed urban forests, good water quality, community resiliency, and sustainable economic development. For more information: www.mngreenstep.org.  

 
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