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Park Rapids: A Minnesota GreenStep city?

Minnesota GreenStep Cities is a free, voluntary program that provides a simple pathway for cities to achieve their sustainability and quality-of-life goals.

The program is based upon 29 best practices for buildings and lighting, transportation, land use, environmental management and economic and community development. The focus is on cost savings, energy use reduction and innovation.

Should Park Rapids become a GreenStep City?

The League of Women Voters of the Park Rapids Area (LWV) is hosting a free presentation at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 19 at the Northwoods Bank community room.

Melissa Birch, central coordinator for Clean Energy Resource Teams, is the featured speaker.

More than 40 percent of Minnesota citizens currently live in a total of 120 GreenStep Cities, mostly in the metro areas, but also scattered throughout rural Minnesota.

In 2008, the Minnesota Legislature directed the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and its partners 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 the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program in 2010.

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 website, the most comprehensive website 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 about the GreenStep program, visit www.mngreenstep.org.

To learn more about the Park Rapids chapter of LWV, email lwvparkrapids//lwvparkrapidsarea.blogspot.com. Both men and women are invited to join.

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