Best Practice Action Detail

Best Practice Action 25.1

GreenStep City Best Practices Resilient Economic and Community Development
Green Business Development No. 25

Expand a greener, more resilient business sector.

Best Practice Action 1

Grow new/emerging green businesses and green jobs through targeted assistance and new workforce development.

  • See, for example, the financial assistance program Minneapolis conducted to remove all perc-based (toxic chemical) dry cleaning machines at private businesses.
  • Minnesota Main Street, a program of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, provides participating local Main Street organizations with the training, tools, information, and networking they need to be successful in their downtown revitalization efforts with businesses.
  • Made in Place: Small-Scale Manufacturing & Neighborhood Revitalization (Smart Growth America: 2017) presents the opportunity of small-scale manufacturing to grow local entrepreneurship and to revitalize downtowns and business districts. Small-scale manufacturers include breweries, furniture makers, textiles, local food production, 3D printing. By integrating manufacturing businesses into downtowns and other existing neighborhoods instead of locating them in industrial parks or standalone facilities, communities can build the character, appeal, property tax benefits and success of walkable neighborhoods.
  • The Center for Rural Entrepreneurship in Nebraska promotes the business development approach called economic gardening that aims to add one new job to each of 50 existing businesses rather than luring one new business with 50 jobs to relocate in town. In a related effort, the Project for Lean Urbanism is working with cities including St. Paul to create official Pink Zones in disinvested neighborhoods. A Pink Zone will have its own protocols generally involving a combination of streamlining regulations and coordinating efforts of property owners and residents so as to accelerate small-scale projects. See also USDA Rural Development Rural Business & Cooperative Programs.
  • Business retention and expansion strategies and assistance from the Univ. of MN Extension Center for Community Vitality, whose goal is to build local leadership and social capital in support of local economies.
  • The MN Dept. of Employment and Economic Development's Manufacturers Supply Chain Database makes it easy for Minnesota manufacturers to find - and be found by - local and Minnesota-based suppliers. City economic development staff can promote keeping dollars in the state as they work with their businesses to keep purchasing and sales as local as possible.
  • See green industry, career and job links from Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. For detail on one fast growing Minnesota job sector, see Minnesota’s Clean Energy Economy Profile (MN Dept. of Employment and Economic Development: 2014) for the state's most comprehensive quantification of the direct employment and wages of clean energy businesses.
  • See, for example, Staying Green and Growing Jobs: Green Infrastructure Operations and Maintenance as Career Pathway Stepping Stones (Green for All: 2013).
1 star Provide incentives such as targeted loans, grants, streamlined permitting processes, shovel-ready land parcels; participate in coordinated marketing and business assistance efforts, or provide similar support; actively support women- and minority-owned businesses.
2 star Provide or link businesses to incubator space, local/MN suppliers, or other tangible assests.
3 star Utilize an economic gardening approach; support the creation of co-operatively owned businesses (report retail food co-ops under action 27.4); develop workforce training opportunities with community colleges and job training centers to credential, for example, energy auditors.

Who's doing it

Albert Lea - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
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Implementation details:
Riverland Community College offers a solar installer certification and a wind turbine technician degree at its Albert Lea campus. These programs provide new workforce development for local green industry.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Jerry Gabrielatos (City staff) | jgabrielatos@ci.albertlea.mn.us | 507-377-4316
Partners:
Austin - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
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Implementation details:
The City has provided a location for the La Surena Cooperative, an LEDC sponsored project. La Surena assists immgrows organic produce, which is sold both locally and in the Twin Cities. LEDC has become active with Vision 2020 and the City of Austin. As part of building these connections, LEDC has opened a regional office in Austin, the first such office in Greater Minnesota and is also developing a local advisory committee. Austin was initially approached by LEDC to assist in the effort to find a location. The coop members live in Austin and it is convenient to be located close to the produce to minimize transportation issues. This is an area of interest to the community and seems to fit well in Austin with our Grow Mower campaign. We hope to expand on this work.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Janet Anderson (Community volunteer) | janetanderson2840@gmail.com | 5072190680
Partners: La Surena
Grand Marais - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Northhome Folk School is located partially on City property. The Folk School is a green non-profit business doing education and training on low-impact and traditional, local-resource-based, trades and skills. The Northhome School supports a variety of entrepreneurs in the community and the use of local resources.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790
Partners:
Isanti - 2 star
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Implementation details:
Ever Cat Fuels LLC is a production and research facility that uses a variety of feedstocks to create renewable biodiesel. The City recruited this company. The company uses its patented McGyan process which results in efficiencies and environmentally friendly byproducts. The City of Isanti entered into a development agreement with Ever Cat Fuels LLC on October 17, 2007. The Development Agreement required the commitment of Ever Cat Fuels to construct a 9,000 square foot facility and to create 12 Jobs with wages of at least $15.00/ hour within two years. The City of Isanti incentive was two-fold consisting of the value of the land contribution ($299,050.14) and securing a Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF) loan ($194,000) to assist with the capital investment. The feedstocks sources vary from local grease traps and waste cooking oils to seed crops.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Ever Cat Fuels constructed the 9,000 square foot production and research facility and it is currently manufacturing renewable biodiesel. The company currently employs 20 people with wages in excess of 15.00/ hr. and has satisfied the requirements of the Development Agreement. The project investment in Isanti was over 6 Million Dollars.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Matt Sylvester (City staff) | msylvester@cityofisanti.us | 763-444-5512
Partners: State of Minnesota (MIF Loan), Initiative Foundation (Grant)
Maplewood - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
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Implementation details:
On June 21, 2011, the City approved a loan to St. John's Hospital for building improvements. The loan is part of a wider St. Paul Port Authority (SPPA) program called the Trillion BTU program. The program hopes to save one trillion BTUs of energy by providing large businesses with loans for energy efficiency improvements to their facilities. The $400,000 loan came from the City's general fund and the Economic Development Authority (EDA). The St. Paul Port Authority matched the $400,000 loan and X-Cel energy provided the final $75,000 in funding as a rebate.

St. John's Hospital is expected to repay the loan over a 5 to 10 year period.

In 2009 the City provided the Maplewood Mall with a sub grant of $10,000 for 107 parking lot lighting retrofits. The sub grant helped create a new green job at the mall and has an estimated savings of 135,802 kWh's a year.

Within the Partners in Energy, which the city of Maplewood is involved in with Xcel Energy, there are grants available for businesses to receive recommissioning studies. These recommissioning studies will receive a rebate from Xcel energy. This rebate will then be used to help implement changes within the businesses. This program will also help businesses receive information about other sustainability programs like stormwater, and waste prevention.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Michael Martin (City staff) | michael.martin@maplewoodmn.gov | 651-249-2303
Partners: Saint Paul Port Authority, Xcel Energy
Mountain Iron - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
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Implementation details:
The City of Mountain Iron has developed a Renewal and Sustainable Energy Park strictly for the clustering and development of green companies that specialize in renewable energy.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Current tenant is a Solar company.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Craig Wainio (City staff) | cwainio@ci.mountain-iron.mn.us | 218-748-7570
Partners: IRRRB; DEED; Silicon Energy
Belle Plaine - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The City of Belle Plaine has links on its webpage to business assistance provided by Xcel Energy and MVEC (Minnesota Valley Electric Co-Op) both of which are energy providers within the City. Programs are designed to conserve energy and save operational costs. Information and programming includes rebates, energy audits & studies, and advice on energy efficient new/improved facilities. In addition the City has a link to the Minnesota Retiree Environmental Technical Assistance Program (RECAP).
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Laura Blue (City staff) | lblue@ci.belleplaine.mn.us | 952-873-5553
Partners:
Bemidji - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
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Implementation details:
#25 - action steps 1, 6, and 7: Provided assistance to Harmony energy audit, solar awning and EnergyStar certification. Harmony participates in "buy local" campaigns.Wrote CERTS grant proposal, met with Harmony sustainability committee, assisted in implementation, did solar site assessment and awning design, etc.Installed solar awning; obtained EPA EnergyStar certification; conducted RE business forum, participated in sustainable places and MRES tours, Pioneer article. Ongoing - started Jan 2014 and continuing
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Diana Kuklinski (Community volunteer) | dianamk50@gmail.com | 218-760-1557
Partners: Colleen Bakken and Christine Szama,of Harmony Food Co-op, Erika BJ of Bemidji State University, CERTS, RREAL
Burnsville - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
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Implementation details:
Burnsville provides energy and waste reduction awareness and assistance to local businesses through the ARROW program: Awards for Reduction and Recycling of Waste. ARROW is a free, voluntary program for businesses in Eagan, Apple Valley and Burnsville, and is implemented by Dakota Valley Recycling. ARROW gives awards to businesses for their recycling and reduction of waste. Every year in the local newspaper, This Week, green business participants of the ARROW program are highlighted. The City links businesses to incubator space or other tangible assets by listing Site and Building Locations and Available Property/Space on the Burnsville's website. The City Economic Development Coordinator maintains a contact list of businesses and industrial building owners; these contacts receive notifications of potential space availability. Burnsville supports targeted workforce training opportunities with community colleges (Inver Hills Community College, Normandale Community College), univerisities Concordia University, University of St. Thomas, St. Mary's University, and the National American University), Dunwoody Technical College, and the Workforce Center. Through all of these partnerships, customized training and credit courses are provided.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Sue Bast (City staff) | basts@ci.burnsville.mn.us | 952-895-4524
Partners:
Crookston - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
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Implementation details:
The City is working with a new business, Oliver's Canoe Outfitters, to improve current access points and provide additional access points outside and within city limits. Assisting the business in this way will help the outfitter to expand business as well as create easier access to the river.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
DeAndra Navratil (City staff) | oconn587@Umn.edu | 701-330-5226
Partners:
Elk River - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
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Implementation details:
Cymbet developed a thin-film battery that is infinitely rechargeable and also can be used in solar systems. The Elk River economic development division offered the company low cost business financing to assist in the development of new technology, product research, and building construction
Outcome measures/metrics:
Today, Cymbet still operates out of Elk River and is a terrific success.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Amanda Bednar (City staff) | ABednar@ElkRiverMN.gov | 763-635-1068
Partners:
Lake Crystal - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
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Implementation details:
On April 15, 2014 the Lake Crystal Economic Development Authority (EDA)passed an amendment to their current loan program to include specific 0% interest loans for energy efficiency improvements.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff) | lccity@hickorytech.net | 507-726-2538
Partners: Lake Crystal EDA
Mankato - 1 star
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Implementation details:
Mankato offers a commercial rehabilitation program, which includes options for improvements for energy-efficieny. Projects are often in older, historic areas where outdated mechanical equipment in the businesses is common.
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Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Molly Westman (City staff) | mwestman@mankatomn.gov | 507-387-8571
Partners:
Northfield - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
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Implementation details:
The Greater Northfield Sustainability Collaborative has a mission statement that includes facilitating initiatives related to green business and jobs. Their mission statement includes the quote,"Our goal is to facilitate and coordinate sustainability initiatives in the greater Northfield area and support the City’s efforts to implement the GreenStep Cities program."
Outcome measures/metrics:
City staff currently meets with the GNSC to discuss initiatives they have facilitated. The GNSC also markets these activities on their website as they occur. Also, the GNSC has been instrumental in facilitating the implementation of the Northfield Community Solar program. (http://mncommunitysolar.com/northfield) This program is slated to start with a 1 mega-watt garden. This facilitation directly supports new and emerging green businesses and green jobs.
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Beth Kallestad (City staff) | beth.kallestad@ci.northfield.mn.us | 507-645-3074
Partners: Greater Northfield Sustainability Collaborative
Scandia - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
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Implementation details:
The City has listed the RETAP program as an Economic Development resource on its website that provides a link to the RETAP website.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Neil Soltis (City staff) | n.soltis@ci.scandia.mn.us | 651-433-2274
Partners:
Shoreview - 1 star
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Implementation details:
Shoreview has and will continue to provide city assistance for projects that incorporate green/sustainable methods into development plans.
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For more information contact:
Ellen Brenna (City staff) | ebrenna@shoreviewmn.gov | 651-490-4665
Partners:
Red Wing - Pending
Date action report first entered:
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Implementation details:
As an earth day activity the sustainablity commission sponsored a local foods film festival offering documentary films such as King Corn, Fresh, Food Inc. Films were offered free of charge at local natural food store "Simple Abundance" and at the River Bend Food Co-op Market
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Paul Drotos (City staff) | paul.drotos@ci.red-wing.mn.us | 651-410-6744
Partners: