City Detail

Background Information

City of Detroit Lakes
County: Becker
Population: 9,409
GreenStep City category: B
Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.): 85
Participating township, county, school:

GreenStep Coordinator

Kelcey Klemm
City Staff
2188475658
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: 30
1 star actions: 14
2 star actions: 11
3 star actions: 3

Buildings and Lighting Buildings and Lighting

Efficient Existing Public Buildings {BP no.1}

1 star - Action 1:

Enter/update building information into the MN B3 Benchmarking database, and routinely enter monthly usage data for all city-owned buildings/infrastructure that consume energy/water.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2020
Implementation details:
The City of Detroit Lakes Public Utility is currently installing Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) city wide. All buildings will be monitored on a meter data management system for electric and water usage (this is a city-wide initiative, every customer of the Utility will be monitored) . Leak detection reports and high electric usage reports are sent to staff daily. Once fully implemented, this data can be transferred to the B3 Benchmarking site. Currently, staff utilizes Yukon infrastructure monitoring system.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Bridget Penton (City Staff) | bpenton@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 218-846-7133
3 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: 2020
Implementation details:
The City of Detroit Lakes routinely audits our existing buildings for energy efficiency improvements. The Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center recently completed a major $1.8M energy conservation project to improve retrofit lighting and insulation. This included the installation of all DLC listed LEDs, which qualified for energy rebates through the Public Utility. The Detroit Lakes City Hall, Sports Arena, Parks Department, Electric Department, and Fire Department have improved lighting and insulation in recent years. These buildings have all installed DLC listed LEDs, which qualified for LED retrofit rebates through the Public Utility. The Detroit Lakes School District has replaced all lighting in each school building with DLC listed LEDs. All of the school buildings will receive an energy efficiency rebate through the Public Utility.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Kelcey Klemm (City Staff) | kklemm@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 2188475658

Efficient Existing Private Buildings {BP no.2}

1 star - Action 1:

Create or participate in a marketing/outreach/incentive program to promote/achieve residential energy/water use reduction and energy efficiency.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Detroit Lakes Public Utilities offers various rebates and opportunities for energy efficient improvements through the Bright Energy Solutions program.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Bridget Penton (City Staff) | bpenton@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 218-846-7133

New Green Buildings {BP no.3}

1 star - Action 5:

Adopt environmentally preferable covenant guidelines for new common interest communities addressing issues such as stormwater, greywater, native vegetation, growing food, clothes lines, electric vehicle charging, and renewable energy.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Detroit Lakes is a regulated MS4 permittee, which requires an in-depth SWPP (Storm Water Prevention Plan). The MS4 permit requires annual reporting and best practice implementation. The City of Detroit Lakes issues Land Disturbance Permits and inspects related activities within the City limits to ensure compliance to stormwater rules and requirements. The City is regulated by the Pelican River Watershed District, which also regulates stormwater runoff.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Kelcey Klemm (City Staff) | kklemm@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 2188475658
Not rated - Action 5:

Adopt environmentally preferable covenant guidelines for new common interest communities addressing issues such as stormwater, greywater, native vegetation, growing food, clothes lines, electric vehicle charging, and renewable energy.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2021
Implementation details:
We distribute flyers and educational material to our customers/citizens regarding salt use. It provides basic education on protecting our storm water and lakes, as well as ways to save on salt and proper use when using it as a de-icer in the winter months.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Bridget Penton (City Staff) | bpenton@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 218-846-7133

Efficient Outdoor Lighting and Signals {BP no.4}

1 star - Action 6:

Relamp/improve exterior building lighting for city-owned buildings/facilities with energy efficient, Dark-Sky compliant lighting.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2021
Implementation details:
Light fixtures at our new Police Department are all LED and dark sky compliant. We also purchased all new outdoor Christmas decorations that are LED energy efficient.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Bridget Penton (City Staff) | bpenton@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 218-846-7133
1 star - Action 8:

Replace the city's existing traffic signals with LEDs.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Detroit Lakes is currently switching out to LED street lights and traffic signals. In new developments and as old street lights are replaced, LEDs are installed.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Bridget Penton (City Staff) | bpenton@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 218-846-7133

Building Redevelopment {BP no.5}

1 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: 2020
Implementation details:
Our old K-Mart building has been restored and redeveloped for a new Boys and Girls Club Thrift Store. In the large parking lot, we are developing an Aldi's grocery store. It will be completed this fall. One the lower level of McKinley Plaza, we have a new fitness center, Snap Fitness.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Bridget Penton (City Staff) | bpenton@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 218-846-7133
1 star - Action 5:

Adopt development/design standards and programs that facilitate infill, redevelopment, and adaptable buildings.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Detroit Lakes utilizes Redevelopment Tax Increment Financing districts to utilize investment and redevelopment of existing buildings. The Detroit Lakes Development Authority also utilizes a revolving loan fund to assist businesses in development and re purposing of existing buildings. The City also utilizes the Facade Improvement Grant Program.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Kelcey Klemm (City Staff) | kklemm@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 2188475658

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: 2000
Implementation details:
The Detroit Lakes Comprehensive Plan was originally adopted in 2000 and amended most recently in 2018. A comprehensive future land use update was completed in 2018 that included an analysis of existing land uses, projections of future population, and projection of future land use needs.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Kelcey Klemm (City Staff) | kklemm@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 2188475658
1 star - Action 2:

Demonstrate that regulatory ordinances comply with the comprehensive plan including but not limited to having the zoning ordinance explicitly reference the comprehensive plan as the foundational document for decision making.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2020
Implementation details:
Subd. 3 Relation to Comprehensive Municipal Plan under the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Detroit Lakes, states the following: It is the policy of the
City of Detroit Lakes that the enforcement, amendment, and administration of this ordinance be accomplished with due consideration of the recommendations contained in the comprehensive municipal plan as developed and amended from time to time by the Planning Commission and City Council of the City. The Council recognizes the Comprehensive Municipal Plan, as the policy for responsibility to regulate land use and
development in accordance with the policies and purpose herein set forth.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Kelcey Klemm (City Staff) | kklemm@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 2188475658

Resilient City Growth {BP no.7}

1 star - Action 3:

Achieve higher intensity commercial/industrial land uses through at least one of the following strategies:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2020
Implementation details:
The Central Business Zoning District allows zero setbacks.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Bridget Penton (City Staff) | bpenton@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 218-846-7133

Mixed Uses {BP no.8}

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: 2020
Implementation details:
Central Business Zoning District allows residential units located above commercial establishments.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Bridget Penton (City Staff) | bpenton@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 218-846-7133
1 star - Action 7:

Create incentives for vertical mixed-use development in appropriate locations (downtown, commercial districts near colleges or universities, historic commercial districts).

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2019
Implementation details:
The City of Detroit Lakes has recently completed several mixed use projects within the downtown area. In 2016, McKinley Plaza was constructed; the building includes retail locations and apartments. In 2019, Norby's Flats were renovated from the old Norby's department store into several businesses and the Midtown development began construction. We now have apartments above the commercial development.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Kelcey Klemm (City Staff) | kklemm@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 2188475658

Transportation Transportation

Living & Complete Streets {BP no.11}

2 star - Action 4:

Identify, prioritize and remedy complete streets gaps and lack of connectivity/safety within your road network by, for example, bike/pedestrian plan, adding a bike route/lane, truck route, sidewalk or mid-block alley.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2020
Implementation details:
The Master Trail Plan located in our 5-year CIP identifies gaps and prospective projects.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Bridget Penton (City Staff) | bpenton@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 218-846-7133
2 star - Action 6:

Implement traffic calming policy/measures, including lane conversions (road diets), roundabouts, low-speed streets, shared space and depaving, in at least one street redevelopment project.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2021
Implementation details:
We constructed 2 roundabouts in Washington Avenue project and reduced the lane size.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Bridget Penton (City Staff) | bpenton@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 218-846-7133

Mobility Options {BP no.12}

3 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: 2020
Implementation details:
We have received the Bronze Bike Friendly Community certificate.

The City has added 2 bike fix stations, one located at the Pavilion and the other at the Detroit Lakes overlook.

The City of Detroit Lakes Parks and Recreation website promotes several walking and biking trails, as well as picnic shelters. Three separate maps are posted on the website.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Bridget Penton (City Staff) | bpenton@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 218-846-7133

Efficient City Fleets {BP no.13}

2 star - Action 3:

Phase-in operational changes, equipment changes including electric vehicles, and no-idling practices for city or local transit fleets.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2021
Implementation details:
The City of Detroit Lakes Public Utilities will be purchasing an electric vehicle for its smaller fleet vehicle.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Bridget Penton (City Staff) | bpenton@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 218-846-7133
1 star - Action 4:

Phase in bike, e-bike, foot or horseback modes for police, inspectors and other city staff.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2020
Implementation details:
Our Police Department has2 bikes they use for patrol.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Bridget Penton (City Staff) | bpenton@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 218-846-7133

Environmental Management Environmental Management

Community Forests and Soils {BP no.16}

2 star - Action 1:

Certify as a Tree City USA.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Detroit Lakes became a Tree City USA participant in 1988. The planting of trees is an annually budgeted item.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Kelcey Klemm (City Staff) | kklemm@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 2188475658
Pending - Action 5:

Adopt a tree preservation or native landscaping ordinance.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2021
Implementation details:
We received an EAB grant for inventory of trees. This is in progress.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Bridget Penton (City Staff) | bpenton@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 218-846-7133

Parks and Trails {BP no.18}

2 star - Action 1:

Make improvements within your city's system of parks, offroad trails and open spaces.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Detroit Lakes has an approved Master Trails Plan and Parks Strategic Plan. The City's Subdivision Ordinance also requires the dedication of 6% of undeveloped land at the time of platting.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Kelcey Klemm (City Staff) | kklemm@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 2188475658

Surface Water {BP no.19}

2 star - Action 4:

Adopt a shoreland ordinance for all river and lake shoreland areas.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Detroit Lakes adopted a Shoreland Ordinance in 2019. This ordinance promotes the preservation of sensitive natural areas and ensures the conservation of critical natural systems.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Kelcey Klemm (City Staff) | kklemm@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 2188475658

Efficient Water and Wastewater Systems {BP no.20}

2 star - Action 6:

Implement a wastewater plant efficiency project (co-generation, water reuse) or a program for local private business operations (water conservation, water reuse, business co-location).

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2020
Implementation details:
The City of Detroit Lakes is currently constructing a new $35M wastewater treatment plant. This sizable investment for a community of our size will enable us to produce high quality discharge water to preserve water quality in a vast region of Western Minnesota. Our facility will help preserve water quality, excellent recreational activities, and protect downstream watersheds for years to come.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Vernell Roberts (City Staff) | vroberts@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 2188475658

Sustainable Consumption and Waste {BP no.22}

2 star - Action 7:

Improve/organize residential trash, recycling and organics collection by private and/or public operations and offer significant volume-based pricing on residential garbage and/or incentives for recycling.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
By ordinance, the City of Detroit Lakes requires garbage haulers to provide curbside recycling and waste removal. Curbside recycling evolved in 2017 to single-stream recycling to improve participation and collected tonnage.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Kelcey Klemm (City Staff) | kklemm@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 2188475658

Local Air Quality {BP no.23}

1 star - Action 5:

Install, assist with and promote publicly available EV charging stations or public fueling stations for alternative fuel vehicles. 

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2020
Implementation details:
With the help of the MPCA grant money, ZEF energy has installed a publicly available Electric Vehicle Charging Station.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
ZEF Energy
For more information contact:
Bridget Penton (City Staff) | bpenton@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 218-846-7133

Resilient Economic & Community Development Resilient Economic and Community Development

Green Business Development {BP no.25}

2 star - Action 2:

Create or participate in a marketing/outreach program to connect businesses with assistance providers, including utilities, who provide personalized energy, waste or sustainability audits and assistance.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Detroit Lakes Public Utilities and the Energy Services Specialist meet with major local businesses twice per year to encourage energy conservation and to promote new programs.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Bridget Penton (City Staff) | bpenton@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 218-846-7133

Renewable Energy {BP no.26}

2 star - Action 2:

Promote resident/business purchases and/or generation of clean energy by:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2020
Implementation details:
The City of Detroit Lakes Public Utility offers a program for all customers to be 100% carbon-free. Bright Energy Choices is a “green energy” program that allows your customers to purchase renewable attributes from your utility in the form of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). RECs are proof that electricity was generated by qualifying renewable facilities – like wind and solar farms – and fed into the electric grid. This program is promoted through social media, newspaper outlets and visitor guides.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Bridget Penton (City Staff) | bpenton@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 218-846-7133
3 star - Action 4:

Support a community solar garden or help community members participate in a community solar project by:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Starting in 2017, Detroit Lakes Public Utilities offers participation in a community solar garden. The City owned, operated, and maintained solar panels make it easy for businesses and residents to purchase renewable energy generation. In January of 2020, Detroit Lakes Public Utilities will offer 100% renewable energy purchases through its Bright Energy Choices program.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Bridget Penton (City Staff) | bpenton@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 218-846-7133

Local Food {BP no.27}

1 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:
The City of Detroit Lakes participates in local efforts including Becker County Energize and Manna Food Co-op to promote and provide local healthy food access.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Kelcey Klemm (City Staff) | kklemm@cityofdetroitlakes.com | 2188475658