10 Years of GreenStep

Scandia engaging community on 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 Ken Cammilleri, City Administrator and Brenda Eklund, City Clerk with the City of Scandia. Scandia has been part of the GreenStep program since 2014 (see their progress).

 

What action is the City of Scandia most proud of since joining GreenStep Cities?

Scandia’s City Council voted to authorize the city’s participation in the Minnesota GreenStep Cities Program in 2014. Six years later, Scandia has achieved recognition as a Step 3 GreenStep City. We would consider our greatest accomplishment to be collaborative education projects. In conjunction with Friends of Scandia Parks and Trails, the parent organization of the GreenStep committee, we offer a free speaker series to the public to increase awareness of climate change and the importance of sustainable practices. Topics have included recycling, building resiliency to climate change, native plant landscaping and the impacts of climate change on Minnesota birds. Some of these talks are co-sponsored with the nearby Marine Community Library, which often has 100-150 people in attendance.  

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

 

What has the GreenStep Cities program helped Scandia achieve?

The GreenStep Cities program has made Scandia more mindful of opportunities to incorporate sustainable practices. It is something that has not only been considered in our operations and comprehensive planning, but such practices will also likely be included in future development regulations that are currently in the process of being drafted.

 

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GreenStep Cities actions not only benefit our natural and physical environment, but also offer real cost savings. This can be extremely impactful as communities must do much more with fewer resources.

Brenda Eklund, City Clerk with City of Scandia

Has Scandia run into any barriers while implementing GreenStep Cities actions?

The biggest barrier that we have dealt with in Scandia has been with regard to solar projects. Scandia has welcomed a number of sizable solar installations to the community and has incorporated solar cells on one of its buildings. Solar is a great renewable energy source, but large installations in the community have created concern from residents about the impact on viewsheds. The city has learned a lot and has been challenged to address community concerns. Scandia’s regulation of large scale solar installations has gone through substantial evolutions and continues to improve.

See Best Practice Actions for more information on installing public renewable energy projects (26.5) and solar regulations (26.7).

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What GreenStep Cities actions is Scandia planning for next?

Now that Scandia has advanced to Step 3, we are working to fulfill the requirements for Step 4. We hope to outline goals for the next 2-3 years so that we can continue to progress with the GreenStep Cities program and be an example to our community and neighbors. We are documenting various metrics for the city and evaluating areas in which the city can improve its practices. We are studying the feasibility of an electric vehicle charging station in Scandia, as well as evaluating tree cover and documenting transportation use in the community.   

Learn more about Steps 4 and 5 metric reporting.

 

Would you recommend the GreenStep Cities program to other communities? 

Yes, GreenStep is an excellent opportunity for communities to gain access to resources and expertise to enhance sustainable practices. These enhancements not only benefit our natural and physical environment, but also offer real cost savings. This can be extremely impactful as communities must do much more with fewer resources. The recognition that cities receive for promoting green best practices helps to raise awareness of the program and engage citizens.

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Minnesota GreenStep Cities: A Decade of Growth

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