WILLMAR -- The League of Minnesota Cities on Thursday recognized Willmar and 46 other cities for participation in GreenStep Cities -- a free and voluntary program designed to help Minnesota cities achieve environmental sustainability goals through use of 28 best practices.
Each best practice can be met by completing one or more specific actions from a list of four to eight suggested actions in the areas of transportation, buildings and lighting, environmental management, land use, and economic and community development.
Those actions are tailored to all types of cities and focus on cost savings, energy use reduction, and encouraging innovation.
Cities achieve Step One recognition by passing a resolution to become a GreenStep City. Step Two cities have implemented up to eight of the program's best practices, and Step Three cities have implemented up to 16 of the best practices. A number of cities have completed two of the three steps within a single year.
Willmar and 19 other cities were recognized completing Step One this year. Eleven cities completed Step Two, and four cities completed Step Three.
The awards were presented at the League of Minnesota Cities annual conference in Duluth.
Other agencies sponsoring the GreenStep Cities program are the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Division of Energy Resources at the Minnesota Department of Commerce, the Clean Energy Resource Teams, the Great Plains Institute, the Izaak Walton League, and the Urban Land Institute of Minnesota.