Best Practice Action Detail

Best Practice Action 25.3

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

Expand a greener, more resilient business sector.

Best Practice Action 3

Promote sustainable tourism in your city, and green tourism resources to tourism and hospitality businesses in/around the city.

  • The Green Hotels Association provides practical information and qualified vendors for helping lodging owners to green their operations.
  • See two 2016 reports from Explore MN on the state of green tourism in Minnesota.
  • Green Routes, a triple bottom line tourism initiative of St. Paul-based Renewing the Countryside.
  • Home sharing — by renting a room, informally or via Airbnb, to a traveler or short-term tenant — can be a powerful and profitable option for aging in place. The definition of a short term rental varies by city since each chooses to regulate (or not) differently. Concerns include potential loss of affordable housing, safety and neighborhood quality-of-life issues. See Short Term Rental Zoning Study and Proposed Zoning Code Amendments (St. Paul: 2017) that summarizes the regulatory stances of Eagan, Burnsville, Duluth, and Prior Lake.
  • See EV resources at Drive Electric Minnesota
1 star Identify how area tourism is featuring cultural and green aspects/beautification of the area/their business, and/or how the city has contacted businesses (and how many) about making internal green changes within their business; promote on a city/chamber web page area businesses that have EV charging stations.
2 star Create or participate in an ongoing green tourism initiative; facilitate follow-up with at least 5 businesses to assist them/arrange for assistance to them in greening their business.
3 star Document the financial and environmental outcomes from these green tourism efforts on your city web site. Report any green tourism business certifications earned in action 25.6.

Who's doing it

Hastings - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Hastings is a designated Bike City and the addition of the Zagster bike rentals helps to promote green tourism in our city.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Melanie Mesko-Lee (City staff) | mmesko_lee@hastingsmn.gov | 651-480-2326
Partners:
Moorhead - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 1990
Implementation details:
River Keepers work with Moorhead Parks and Recreation to offer canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. They also offer many educational events like the Red River Paddling Excursion to teach users how to appreciate and be a steward of the Red River. They also have many volunteering offerings like On-The Water-Clean up and Adopt the Red. A list of their many activities is on their website. These activities promote sustainable use of the river and provide a green tourism offering for the city. Their Board of Directors is made up of many members from organizations and businesses in the Fargo-Moorhead area.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Dan Mahli (City staff) | dan.mahli@cityofmoorhead.com | 218-299-5314
Partners: River Keepers, Moorhead Parks and Recreation
Elk River - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Elk River is known as "Energy City," a designation given by the state of Minnesota in 1996 to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy and act as a demonstration site for the state. As a part of this, city and Elk River Municipal Utilities staff host on average 20 tours a year to students, organizations, businesses, politicians, and even international participants. The tours include area businesses, power plants, etc.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
In 2014 alone, over 500 participants took part in Energy City Tours.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Amanda Bednar (City staff) | ABednar@ElkRiverMN.gov | 763-635-1068
Partners: Elk River Municipal Utilities
Ely - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City promotes outdoor based tourism. The City promotes itself as the "Gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area."
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Harold Langowski (City staff) | elyod@ely.mn.us | 218-226-5474
Partners:
Grand Marais - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Grand Marais has a variety of low-impact and green tourism businesses, including eco-tourism. Examples include canoe outfitters, fishing and backwoods guides, other quiet sports. Cook County Visitor Bureau promotes tourism generally, including the green tourism businesses.
Grand Marais has a wide variety of businesses that sell locally produced goods and promote local entrepreneurs. Artisan goods, local food, tourism economy is heavily locally focused.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790
Partners:
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
There is a "Green Routes" brochure that promotes resources to green tourism and hospitality businesses from Star Island to Deer River.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Brandy Toft (City staff) | air@lldrm.org | 218-335-7429
Partners:
Morris - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2011
Implementation details:
Morris's Tourism website promotes the various green attractions in the city of Morris, including the Morris Wetland Management District, the US Department of Agriculture Research Center, the University of Minnesota-Morris Campus, Pomme De Terre Park, and the Horticulture Display Garden.

Morris's Tourism Board is currently soliciting proposals for agricultural and green tourism advertising campaigns.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Blaine Hill (City staff) | bhill@ci.morris.mn.us | 320-589-3141
Partners: Morris Tourism Board
Victoria - 2 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Victoria has an intense trail system that bring the user to the CBD where there is limited parking space for vehicles but many spots for bicycles to be parked. The Victoria Business Association donates a portion of its event proceeds to the City of Victoria’s Park and Recreation Scholarship fund. This is a great way to get people to come to the CBD, while promoting a healthy lifestyle.

GoCarverGo is a green initiative to promote the use of trails and parks in Carver County. You can plan a trip via bike or walking, rollerblading, etc, on the website. It is a useful tool.

The Victoria Recreation Center offers health discounts through Blue Cross Blue Shield Minnesota and ND / Ucare and Health Partners, Preferred One and Silver & Fit.

The biking/running trails connect Downtown Victoria all the way to Minneapolis. This way, people who live a greener lifestyle have the option to travel via trails to the city.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Paul Moretto (City staff) | pmoretto@ci.victoria.mn.us | 952-443-4210
Partners: Victoria Business Associaton; Blue Cross; UCARE; Healthpartners; Preferred One; Silver & Fit
Bloomington - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The Bloomington Convention and Visitors Bureau has a website that promotes a number of outdoor activities and attractions within Bloomington. Additionally, the Mall of America includes outdoor activities and attractions surrounding the mall in their visitors guide.

http://www.bloomingtonmoavisitorsguide.com/bloomingtonmoavisitorsguide/2018?pg=1#pg1

Explore Minnesota has a search function that offers multiple categories so tourists can find a variety of activities, and the website includes an option for attractions that are accessible to visitors with special considerations.

http://www.exploreminnesota.com/index.aspx

All sites promote public transportation such as light rail, buses, and shared rides as methods of getting around town.

Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Steve Gurney (City staff) | sgurney@BloomingtonMN.gov | 952-563-4606
Partners: Bloomington Convention and Visitors Bureau; Mall of America; Explore Minnesota
Duluth - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Duluth promotes the St. Louis River Corridor which is the world’s largest freshwater estuary. Efforts include enhancing trails connectivity, walkability. The Duluth Mayor has successfully sought reinactment of the 1/2% tourism tax to fund future development and enhancements to the the St. Louis River corridor. Businesses in the western district have rallied around the initiative to make the west area a destination for recreational activiities and commerce.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Alex Jackson, Energy Coordinator (City staff) | ajackson@DuluthMN.gov | 218-730-4433
Partners:
Fergus Falls - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Fit City running trails are mapped per mile.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Len Taylor (City staff) | len.taylor@ci.fergus-falls.mn.us | 218-332-5418
Partners:
Inver Grove Heights - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Inver Grove Heights has many sustainable indoor and outdoor recreational opportunities available to residents and visitors. The City and Conventions and Visitors’ Bureau frequently promote green outdoor recreational opportunities within City Parks, trails and scenic natural areas. Outdoor recreation opportunities throughout the City include walking/biking trails, mountain bike trails, dog park, fishing, ice rinks, skateboard park, disc golf, foot golf, tennis and pickleball courts and more. The City continues to expand the 30+ mile trail network available to the community and visitors. The Veterans Memorial Community Center also provides non-residents and community members to indoor recreation programs and activities year-round. The fitness center offers health insurance discounts as well.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Ally Hillstrom (City staff) | ahillstrom@invergroveheights.org | 651-604-8511
Partners:
Jordan - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2015
Implementation details:
A partner organization, Explore Jordan, has maps of all parks the City’s multi-use trails for visitors to find and enjoy.

Explore Jordan has designed an historic walking tour, which gives tourists a detailed tour, building-by-building, of Jordan’s History.

The city has continually invested in park space, specifically in Veteran's Park and Lagoon Park, abutting the downtown area. This includes winning a MN DNR grant to install a Fishing Pier in Lagoon Park - offering plentiful recreation opportunities and green-space proximate to Jordan’s downtown businesses and attractions

The city redesigned and reconstructed its downtown infrastructure in 2014/15 by widening sidewalks, adding curb bump-outs, adding bike lanes, and installing street trees - calming traffic and providing friendlier space for Jordan’s visitors and residents.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The success of downtown business will be used as a metric to judge the city’s effectiveness in supporting local recreation opportunities.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Nathan Fuerst (City staff) | nfuerst@jordanmn.gov | 952-492-7929
Partners: Explore Jordan; Jordan Chamber of Commerce
Maplewood - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
In 2012 many improvements were made to the parking lot at the Maplewood Mall with the goal of better stormwater filtration and pollutant management. The construction was completed last summer and the Mall now offers tours of their facility to spotlight the new sustainable upgrades to the location. The city of Maplewood, in partner with the Maplewood Mall management team, believe that the mall can be used as a training tool for sustainability in large business development areas.

During summer months, the Maplewood Nature Center promotes and organizes tours of the many local community gardens in the city as well as providing tours and other activities for all visitors to the center.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shann Finwall (City staff) | shann.finwall@maplewoodmn.gov | 651-249-2304
Partners:
North Branch - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
City collaborate and support the efforts of The North Branch Beautification Association,

The Beautification Association, through its members, volunteers and other community organizations and businesses share the common purpose of beautifying as well as preserving the physical surroundings of North Branch. The value of beautification is clearly recognized as a major factor in attracting new residents, elevating tourism and sustaining the economy. Enhancing the "curb appeal" in our area by strategic plantings, banners, hanging baskets, memorial benches & trees as well as many other projects and enhancements will benefit us all!
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Nathan Sondrol (City staff) | nathans@ci.north-branch.mn.us | 651-277-5226
Partners:
Rochester - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Cascade Meadows is a new wetland demonstration and environmental awareness complex with LEED Platinum certification. RPU is a sponsor and collaborated in several elements of the facility, including water management, solar and wind power generation, and energy efficiency improvements. RPU promotes and encourages visitors, businesses, and citizens to tour this facility to become educated on emerging green technologies that can be applied to new and renovated homes and other buildings. Rochester also promotes the Minnesota Bio Business center as a green education building.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Tony Benson (City staff) | tbenson@rpu.org | 507-280-1534
Partners:
Willmar - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The Willmar Lakes Area Convention and Visitors Bureau actively promotes green tourism. At the what to do menu: there is summary of the regional trail systems. Kandiyohi County Trails Map, PWELC Trails Map, and Sibley State Park Trails Maps. Under the Tour Operators menu: The experience the Willmar Lakes Area 2 day self Tour. Provides links to local restaurants: 21 Fast Food, 13 Coffee shops, 10 pizza parlors, 32 Bar/Restaurants, 10 international Restaurants. Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center, and Sibley State Park are listed as Destinations. Where to stay menu list and number of overnight options.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Tourist looking to adventure in hiking, biking, horseback riding, in-line skating, or cross country skiing have a variety of options by reviewing the local trails, and can support the Lakes Area Chamber listed restaurants and Hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, Resorts, and Campgrounds.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Sara Jacobson (City staff) | sjacobson@willmarmn.gov | 320-235-4760
Partners: Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce; Willmar Lakes Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Nisswa - Pending
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2019
Implementation details:
Nisswa prides itself on being an "outdoors" type city where trees, lakes, and fun are never far from view. We have several great businesses in town that help our citizens and visitors enjoy the outdoors. These businesses include but are not limited to Lake Fun Rentals, Boats and Beyond Rentals, Dave's Sportland Rentals, Your Boat Club, Bertha Boatworks, Life Cycle, and Martin's Sport Shop. These businesses offer rentals from boats to jet skis to bicycles and everything in between. They help us to offer the recreational and environmentally responsible equipment rentals people have come to expect from our outdoorsy community.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Brittney Cotner (City Staff) | zoningadmin@ci.nisswa.mn.us | 2189632402
Partners: