City Detail

Background Information

City of Crookston
County: Polk
Population: 7920
GreenStep City category: A
Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.): 60
Participating township, county, school:

GreenStep Coordinator

Shannon Stassen
City Staff
218-281-1232
City web page relating to sustainability/GreenStep activities:
GreenStep City resolution: Click here to view the file.
GreenStep City status and date: STEP 2 ( )

City Assessment Files and City Performance Metrics

City councils pass a resolution to join the GreenStep program and are recognized at Step 1. Step 2 and Step 3 recognition levels reflect completed city actions, reported and rated below with stars (1 star = good, 2 stars = better, 3 stars = best). The Assessment File below summarizes completed city actions in a short Word file. Step 4 recognition is awarded to cities who report a minimum number of core metrics for the previous calendar year. These metrics aim to show the aggregate, quantitative results of taking multiple GreenStep actions. Step 5 cities show improvement in the Step 4 metrics. See yearly data for Steps 4&5. Additional city data can be found by reviewing information on B3 Benchmarking and Regional Indicators Initiative.

Assessment File

Best Practice Actions Underway and Completed

Completed actions are denoted by stars.

Total completed actions: 20
1 star actions: 9
2 star actions: 9
3 star actions: 2

Buildings and Lighting Buildings and Lighting

Efficient Existing Public Buildings {BP no.1}

3 star - Action 1:

Enter building information into the Minnesota B3 Benchmarking database and routinely enter monthly energy, water use data for all city-owned buildings.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Angel Hoeffman with the City of Crookston has been gathering data quarterly and entering it into the B3 Benchmarking program for city owned buildings. These buildings include the Crookston Sports Center, Terminal, Water Treatment Plant, Valley Technology Park, City Hall, Fire hall, and the Library. Recording data started in December 2006 or when a building was constructed. In March 2015, data began to be recorded monthly for more accurate trending.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
DeAndra Navratil (City staff) | oconn587@Umn.edu | 701-330-5226
2 star - Action 2:

Make no/low cost indoor lighting and operational changes in city-owned/school buildings to reduce energy costs.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The Crookston Fire Hall went through its building and filled and sealed all unnecessary holes leading to the outside of the building as well as increased the the insulation on the roof to increase the R value.
Crookston City Hall had a contractor come through the building and update the lighting to improve the energy efficiency.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
DeAndra Navratil (City staff) | oconn587@Umn.edu | 701-330-5226
2 star - Action 4:

Implement information technology efforts and city employee engagement to reduce plug loads, building energy use and workflow efficiency.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2018
Implementation details:
The city of Crookston monitor B3 Benchmarking information for natural gas and electricity for city owned buildings. These buildings include the Crookston Sports Center, Terminal, Water Treatment Plant, Valley Technology Park, City Hall, Fire hall, and the Library.
The city enacts an electronic shutdown policy within city buildings. This would involve turning off computers, lamps, and other electronics over night or when otherwise not in use. By doing so, the city will decrease energy usage by preventing vampire energy. Current and future employees will be informed/reminded of this policy.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Bryanna Grefthen (Community volunteer) | greft003@crk.umn.edu | 2186868664

Building Redevelopment {BP no.5}

2 star - Action 3:

Plan for reuse of large-format retail buildings, or work with a local school, church or commercial building to either add-on space or repurpose space into new uses.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Crookston repurposed an old school building into 11 apartment units. Crookston also has repurposed several buildings downtown into new businesses or places for new businesses to move in. For example, first floor of the Eagle Rexall Building, a historic building, was re-purposed for a new restaurant with assistance from the city. Also, the City assisted in the rehabilitation and repurposing of Historic Fournet Building for commercial space.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Bryanna Grefthen (Community volunteer) | greft003@crk.umn.edu | 2186868664

Land Use Land Use

Comprehensive, Climate and Energy Plans {BP no.6}

1 star - Action 1:

Adopt a comprehensive plan or (for Category B & C cities) adopt a future land use plan that was adopted by the county or a regional entity.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2016
Implementation details:
Crookston adopted it's new 20-year comprehensive plan titled "Crookston Tomorrow" on March 14th, 2016.
Within the comp plan are sections covering downtown road changes to include bike lanes and an overall pedestrian friendly atmosphere. There is also the Green Initiatives chapter involving the GreenStep program with initiatives to:
-continue to raise awareness of the value of environmental and natural resources in Crookston
-Promote the use of green building techniques and rainwater capture systems in new developments
-Evaluate the use of native prairie grass in some city parks or other areas that currently require mowing to reduce the cost of mowing and weed control
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
KLJ; Northwest Minnesota Foundation
For more information contact:
DeAndra Navratil (City staff) | oconn587@Umn.edu | 701-330-5226

Mixed Uses {BP no.8}

1 star - Action 2:

Locate or lease a school, city building or other government facility that has at least two of these attributes:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2017
Implementation details:
The Crookston City building, City Clerk, Administration Department, public library, and many businesses are located in close proximity in downtown Crookston. Recently, 1.2 miles of multi-use trails were added to complete a 5K loop through neighborhoods, downtown, and the industrial park to encourage access by biking and walking from several areas of town, including residential areas. There is an extra 2 miles of natural surface trails available that encourages hiking and biking to various locations around Crookston. In addition, T.H.E. Bus provides services that transports to and from any destination within the city of Crookston, including city buildings, schools, and the University of Minnesota Crookston.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Bryanna Grefthen (Community volunteer) | greft003@crk.umn.edu | 2186868664
2 star - Action 5:

Have a downtown zoning district that allows residential and compatible commercial development.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2015
Implementation details:
Crookston has horizontal mixed use downtown where apartments exist above businesses. The city also modified a zoning ordinance to allow the construction of an apartment building downtown. Abandoned downtown buildings are
being renovated to contain businesses below with apartments above.

Crookston's downtown is zoned as the Central Business District. The purpose is defined to allow retail, service, office, and entertainment facilities as well as public and semi-public uses.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
DeAndra Navratil (City staff) | oconn587@Umn.edu | 701-330-5226

Transportation Transportation

Living Streets {BP no.11}

2 star - Action 5:

Identify and remedy street-trail gaps between city streets and off-road trails/bike trails to better facilitate walking and biking.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2017
Implementation details:
The City of Crookston has purchased a right of way from BNSF to construct a 1.228 mile multi-use trail adjacent to Fairfax Avenue. The new Fairfax trail will connect two existing pathways and complete a loop. The loop will include active signage and promote both walking and biking. The full loop trail will connect users from Crookston's Historic Downtown with river access and residential neighborhoods.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:

Mobility Options {BP no.12}

2 star - Action 1:

Increase walking, biking and transit use by one or more of the following means:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Crookston is working on a bike workshop where people can fix and maintain their bikes. There will also be a permanent bike repair stand located downtown for public use. T.H.E Bus is installing bike racks on the front of 2-3 buses before the fall of 2015. On the bike path near the entrance of the University of Minnesota Crookston, a ZAP unit has been installed. A TRAILS Master Plan is close to being released that will show all of the paths available for walkers and bikers. Signs will be posted on these paths with names and distance markers.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Tri-Valley Heartland Express; Polk County Public Health
For more information contact:
DeAndra Navratil (City staff) | oconn587@Umn.edu | 701-330-5226
1 star - Action 3:

Prominently identify mobility options: transit; paratransit/Dial-A-Ride; ridesharing/cab services; rental cars; bikes; airports.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The city webpage is being reconstructed and will include its own page of transportation options which include T.H.E. Bus and Ampride taxi service. In the meantime, the transportation options, information, and link were included on the GreenStep initiatives for access.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Bryanna Grefthen (Community volunteer) | greft003@crk.umn.edu | 2186868664

Environmental Management Environmental Management

Community Forests and Soils {BP no.16}

1 star - Action 4:

Maximize tree planting along your main downtown street or throughout the city.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2018
Implementation details:
Since 2014, Crookston has used $36,965.64 on trees planted in parks, around the Crookston Sports Center, and along major roads in town.
The Crookston Parks & Recreation Department plans for a number of trees for replacement on boulevards and newly built housing on a yearly basis. The City Parks, wind breaks on new developments and some shielding on roadways entering the Community are other areas of concentration yearly as well. Trees of various sizes are purchased and planted by our crews and or by a local landscape nursery each season. The next five years, Crookston has budgeted for $14,000 to be used to plant 90-110 trees per year along the areas of interest.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Bryanna Grefthen (Community volunteer) | greft003@crk.umn.edu | 2186868664
2 star - Action 6:

Build community capacity to protect existing trees by one or more of:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Three park staff members including the Director of the Parks and Recreation Department are certified tree inspectors. The city has a budget set to provide free trees in all residential area as well as replace damaged or dying trees.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The city has planted approximately 40 trees per year in residential areas alone.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
DeAndra Navratil (City staff) | oconn587@Umn.edu | 701-330-5226

Parks and Trails {BP no.18}

1 star - Action 3:

Achieve minimum levels of city green space and maximize the percent within a ten-minute walk of community members.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Crookston has 15.15 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
DeAndra Navratil (City staff) | oconn587@Umn.edu | 701-330-5226
1 star - Action 8:

Develop a program to involve community members in hands-on land restoration, invasive species management and stewardship projects.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Polk County Health has been a key player in developing and running programs to get kids outside. The event "Kids at Castle" has all local, natural elements to get families interacting with the land. Castle Park itself is meant to introduce families to outdoor activity and experience nature in the most natural setting possible. These family events take place monthly. To keep Castle Park and the nature trails surrounding it clean, Castle Park Clean Up days also take place.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
A proposal to build an rv park at the Castle Park location emerged and quickly sparked a city wide debate. In the end, the rv park was voted down by city counsel because of the push back from citizens who cared for Castle Park as a natural space. http://www.grandforksherald.com/content/uproar-over-plans-beloved-crookston-park
Descriptive File:
Northwest Regional Sustainable Partnership, Polk County Public Health, SHIP, University of Minnesota Crookston
For more information contact:
DeAndra Navratil (City staff) | oconn587@Umn.edu | 701-330-5226

Resilient Economic & Community Development Resilient Economic and Community Development

Benchmarks and Community Engagement {BP no.24}

1 star - Action 1:

Use a city commission, or committee to lead, coordinate, and report to and engage community members on implementation of sustainability best practices.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2018
Implementation details:
A committee has been formed in order to pursue GreenStep initiatives and investigate ways to achieve our goals. The committee will be made up of Shannon Stassen (City Administrator), Dr. Katy Chapman (UMC Associate Professor, UMC Sustainability Coordinator), and a UMC Sustainability Department student intern. Anybody interested in joining the committee can contact Shannon Stassen. This committee will meet regularly and construct annual reports of the progress toward goals. A GreenStep page will be available on the city website that will keep community members informed on the current initiatives taken by the GreenStep committee.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
University of Minnesota Crookston
For more information contact:
Bryanna Grefthen (Community volunteer) | greft003@crk.umn.edu | 2186868664
1 star - Action 2:

Organize goals/outcome measures from all city plans and report to community members data that show progress toward meeting these goals.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
In 2016, the city of Crookston published a comprehensive plan documenting their goals for the city in the next 17 years. The GreenStep committee will focus on working toward the sustainability goals along with the GreenStep program. GreenStep committee will organize/report goals on our city website GreenStep page and update progress on these goals. A written report of progress and accomplishments will be created and published along with a presentation of progress to city council every four months (April, August, December).
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Bryanna Grefthen (Community volunteer) | greft003@crk.umn.edu | 2186868664
3 star - Action 5:

Conduct or support a community education, visioning and planning initiative using a sustainability framework such as:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Crookston InMotion is a community lead initiative that is comprised of citizens and city counsel members that are interested in improving Crookston. This initiative is broken down into 4 Destiny Drivers with 5 guiding principles. The 4 Destiny Drivers are downtown vitality, expanding housing, economic opportunity, sustainability. Sustainability has 5 guiding principles that are build from the inside out, improve energy efficiency in design/ retrofit of homes and community layout, more walkable community, local, good food production, and celebrate our rich natural resources.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
After several Planning to Action Sessions, plans for a downtown square were created. Unused land near the downtown area was purchased by the city and through a series of design charettes, a design was created by the community and city leaders. The pavilion that now exists hosts our farmers market events.
The Trails, River, & Active Living Group took their meeting outside and cleared trails for easier access to the community.
Descriptive File: view file
Crookston InMotion
For more information contact:
DeAndra Navratil (City staff) | oconn587@Umn.edu | 701-330-5226

Green Business Development {BP no.25}

1 star - Action 1:

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

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
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/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
DeAndra Navratil (City staff) | oconn587@Umn.edu | 701-330-5226

Local Food {BP no.27}

2 star - Action 3:

Create, assist with and promote local food production/distribution within the city:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
A) Crookston has a farmer’s market that was established in 2007. This farmer’s market meets on city land at Town Square in the red pavilion. Products sold include locally grown fruits and vegetables as well as local arts and crafts. The current market coordinator is Steve Dufault.
B) Crookston is home to at least one community- supported agriculture, Whitetail Gardens, which launched in 2011.
The Farmer to Plate program has been running since 2012 and connects farmers in our area to the food services in Crookston schools. There are currently 3 farmers that participate in this program.
C) The City of Crookston will be breaking ground on Riverside Community Garden in May 2015. This community garden is on city land on a city block that was cleared due to flood regulations. This space will now be filled with 8 raised beds, 2 wheelchair accessible beds, a butterfly garden, a berry patch, melon patch, sunflower and corn patch, as well as perennial gardens.
There are several school gardens located throughout the city. The University of Minnesota Crookston has a ¼ acre plot on city land that goes directly to campus food services.
One of the public schools also have a hoop house and garden. Through an after school program, children get to have hands on experiences with the garden while growing food.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Chamber of Commerce; University of Minnesota Extensions
For more information contact:
DeAndra Navratil (City staff) | oconn587@Umn.edu | 701-330-5226

Climate Adaptation and Community Resilience {BP no.29}

2 star - Action 1:

Prepare to maintain public health and safety during extreme weather and climate-change-related events, while also taking a preventive approach to reduce risk for community members.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
We have a “Severe Weather Emergency Management Plan” which is primarily directed at thunderstorm, tornado, wind, flash flood or blizzard type events. However, the same plan could and would be used in an extreme heat event. The plan includes opening designated shelters, disseminating information and warnings to the public, activation of the City Emergency Operations Center and dispatching appropriate emergency responders to deal with the particular emergency. For evacuation shelters we utilize the Crookston Sports Center, the High School gymnasium, the University of Minnesota gymnasium and several of the local churches. The Crookston Sports Center, the High School gymnasium, the University of Minnesota gymnasium are all equipped with back-up generators. We have Resident lists broken down by Ward, that identify individuals with special needs. These are updated annually and we try to be as comprehensive as possible. We have a Community Emergency Response Team program which is made up of about 30 volunteer members of the community. These team members are trained in disaster response and basic first aid, and are trained to check on the citizens that are on the list of individuals with special needs first. These people are in addition to police, fire and medical responders.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
DeAndra Navratil (City staff) | oconn587@Umn.edu | 701-330-5226