The City of Stillwater, at the July 17th regular City Council meeting, unanimously approved a motion to join Minnesota GreenStep Cities. Sustainable Stillwater and friends spoke of the many benefits of the GreenStep program, offered a formal petition requesting approval and pledged support in the form of volunteer time and leadership.
Minnesota GreenStep Cities is developed and sponsored by the League of Minnesota Cities, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Great Plains Institute, and Minnesota Department of Commerce. It is a voluntary program that cities can opt in to receive assistance and recognition for environmental goals. The program helps cities challenge themselves to reach for new goals and manage resource more efficiently.There are 29 best practices in the categories of buildings and lighting, land use, transportation, environmental management and resilient economic and community development.
The City Council decision opens the door for partnerships with community groups, like Sustainable Stillwater. GreensStep resources and workshops can help the city with project innovation planning and increased community involvement. In addition, it can provide a competitive advantage for environmental grant applications and partnerships such as Xcel Energy’s Partners in Energy program and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Internships. In addition, Stillwater will be able to tap expert assistance from the sponsoring organizations and learn from the success already realized by other GreenStep Cities.
Sustainable Stillwater, established in 2016, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to serve as a catalyst, provide education, and support initiatives that promote social, economic and environmental sustainability and resilience. Having independently engaged in projects such as energy conservation and renewable energy forums, safe bike routes to schools, rain garden maintenance and business recycling, it is enthused to partner with the City of Stillwater to plan, promote and implement the GreenStep best practices.