10 Years of GreenStep

Falcon Heights soars through steps to sustainability

10 Years of GreenStep

 

Now in its 10th year, Minnesota GreenStep is a voluntary challenge, assistance, and recognition program to help cities and tribal nations achieve their sustainability and quality-of-life goals.

Diana McKeown, Metro CERT Director at Great Plains Institute, connected with Justin Markon, Community Development Coordinator with the City of Falcon Heights. Falcon Heights has been part of the GreenStep program since 2011 (see their progress).

 

We continue to take part in the GreenStep Cities program because we realize the value such participation brings back to our City.

Justin Markon, Community Development Coordinator with the City of Falcon Heights

What action is the City of Falcon Heights most proud of since joining the GreenStep Cities Program?

While not specific to a GreenStep Cities action, I think our recent Sustainable Actions Fairs happened as a direct result of our participation in the GreenStep Cities program. We have endeavored to bring relevant information to our residents with two one-day events focused on what sort of actions people can take in their daily lives to be more sustainable. The topic ideas directly flow from the GreenStep Cities program and some of the actions we have taken as a city. For example, this includes speakers from Capitol Region Watershed District on rain gardens as well as hosting an electric vehicle (EV) ride-and-drive as part of the event.

See Best Practice Actions for more information on hosting sustainability events (24.4).

 

What has the GreenStep Cities program helped the City of Falcon Heights achieve? 

We continue to take part in the GreenStep Cities program because we realize the value such participation brings back to our City. As a longtime participant, we have a wealth of contacts and ideas to spur further action. This past year, the city implemented a native landscaping ordinance, and we used examples from other GreenStep Cities and spoke with their staff about development and implementation of this type of ordinance.

See Best Practice Actions for more information on native landscaping ordinances (16.5). 

Can you provide any specific action examples in clean energy?

Falcon Heights installed solar panels on the roof of our City Hall in 2012. The array accounts for approximately 50% of the electricity we use at City Hall.

See Best Practice Actions for more information on installing public renewable energy projects (26.5).

 

Can you provide any specific action examples in climate adaptation and resiliency?

In collaboration with the Great Plains Institute (GPI), the City worked on and adopted a resilience analysis in 2015. This plan was also adopted as an appendix to the 2040 Comprehensive Plan, showing continued commitment to resilience efforts.

See Best Practice Actions for more information on resilience planning (29.2) and comprehensive plans (6.1).

 

Is Falcon Heights planning any future GreenStep Cities actions?

Falcon Heights has continued discussions on EV charger stations for public use. In addition, the city has considered including sustainable practices as a prerequisite for planned unit development or city funding (for example, mandatory EV charging stations with any new development). With completion of our Comprehensive Plan, we are looking to update our zoning code to better reflect the goals established in the Comp Plan, such as establishing higher densities near transit lines.

See Best Practice Actions for more information on public EV charging infrastructure (23.5) and achieving higher density housing (7.2). 

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