City Detail

Background Information

City of Grand Marais
County: Cook
Population: 1344
GreenStep City category: B
Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.): 21
Participating township, county, school:

GreenStep Coordinator

Shane Steele
Contractor
507-884-5790
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: 33
1 star actions: 11
2 star actions: 13
3 star actions: 6

Buildings and Lighting Buildings and Lighting

Efficient Existing Public Buildings {BP no.1}

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 City used a 2010 grant from the Department of Commerce- Division of Energy Resources to update the city lighting in its primary buildings. The City replaced all of its internal overhead fluorescent fixtures with the most energy efficient fluorescent fixtures. Cook County similarly updated the lighting in its public building in Grand Marais.

The old community center was replaced with a new YMCA. The YMCA was co-located with the public school, and renovated portions of the school including the gym, for the new facility. The project replaced the old community center pool much more energy efficient pool. Got a rebate from the GMPUC for energy efficient lighting, occupancy sensors, photocells, pool pumps, HVAC equipment, variable speed drives.


Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790

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:
The Grand Marais Public Utility Commission (GMPUC, the municipal electric utility) runs REEP – Residential Energy Efficiency Program. The utility offers rebates for energy efficient appliances, provides audits for a discounted price, and the price of audit counts towards work to implement measures. The program includes home performance energy efficiency audits for residential homes and small commercial businesses. The non-profit Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP) promotes the program. The joint County/City Economic Development Authority (EDA) is funding REEP in 2015.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP) and County/City Economic Development Authority (EDA)
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790
2 star - Action 4:

Describe energy/water efficiency outcomes and other green building practices at businesses and not-for-profit organizations located within/nearby the city.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:

The new Co-op building was built to a Green Building standard (although it was not 3rd-party certified, it is in the process of getting Energy Star certified). The GMPUC provided a number of rebates for the construction. The Co-op manager described the building:
The new Co-op building was built with energy efficiency in mind. The building envelope exceeds the state requirements. The roof is a continuous average R40 with 10” of polyisco foam at the roof edges (the state requires R23 roof insulation on commercial building in a northern climate). There is 4” of Styrofoam below the interior slab. The ICF exterior walls have continuous R25 insulation (the state require R9.3 wall insulation on commercial building in a northern climate). The Co-op installed triple glazed windows and took additional steps such as using local wood and water based stains to ensure limited impact on our environment. They chose energy efficient lighting throughout the store. LED lighting is in all of our refrigeration and outdoor lighting. We used lower wattage fluorescent tubes throughout the store. The store has dual flush EPA WaterSense certified toilets and installed low flow sprayers on the three compartment sinks. The refrigeration is energy star certified, and they opted to install a rack system versus individual compressors to save energy and to allow the reuse of excess heat from the refrigeration to heat water and help heat the building.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790

Efficient Outdoor Lighting and Signals {BP no.4}

1 star - Action 1:

Require energy efficient, Dark-Sky compliant new or replacement outdoor lighting fixtures on city-owned/private buildings and facilities.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:

County Courthouse outside lights were replaced in with all LED fixtures. The County replaced communication tower lighting with LED lights. One tower is inside the City limits.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790

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:
A number of redevelopment projects renovated existing buildings rather than tearing down the building. The County/City incorporated (renovated) the old junior high gym into the new YMCA, which replaced the old community center and pool. This new/renovated facility serves multiple functions, including continuing to serve the school, and also providing community recreation facilities.

The Northhouse Folk School, a popular non-profit located partially on city-owned land, re-purposed two previous forest service garages into workshop space and classrooms.

WTIP repurposed the old outfitter building for a radio station.

A local non-profit organization, Cook County Higher Education, converted a church into office and classrooms. The organization provides local access to higher education and on-line education services and host classes in a variety of professions to train local residents and enhance economic opportunity. They obtained an energy audit from GMPUC, identified a number of measures with attractive paybacks, then fund-raised on the basis of the audit and remodeled the building and made it much more energy efficient.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
YMCA; Northhouse Folk School; WTIP North Shore Community Radio; Cook County Higher Education
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790

Land Use Land Use

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

Pending - 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:
Implementation details:
City Comprehensive Plan - The City’s Comprehensive Plan dates from the late 1990s. The City is planning for a Comprehensive Plan update within a year or so.

County Comprehensive Plan - The County is currently in the middle of creating a new Comprehensive Plan, replacing the one adopted in 1998
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790
3 star - Action 5:

Adopt climate mitigation and/or energy independence goals and objectives in the comprehensive plan or in a separate policy document, and include transportation recommendations such as becoming an EV-ready city.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
City/County Joint Energy Plan - Creation of a joint City and the County Energy Plan. In the summer of 2010, the Cook County Board, the City of Grand Marais, and the Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP), formed a partnership to develop an Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Plan (ECRE Plan) that would pertain to both the City and the County. The purpose of this project was to better prepare our community for the challenges of a rapidly changing energy environment, and to be better able to take advantage of opportunities inherent in those challenges. The finished Plan was adopted by both the City and the County in 2012.

The Plan began by creating a database of baseline energy information and by soliciting public input about energy issues facing the governments, residents and businesses of Cook County and Grand Marais. The Plan included assessments of use and recommendations for improvements in both the public and private sector. The planning process engaged stakeholders throughout the county:

•A telephone survey of full-time residents, seasonal residents, and businesses.


•Collecting anecdotal information from a survey posted on the CCLEP website and e-mailed to a list of residents known to be interested in energy.


•Interviews in which residents are invited to comment on the Energy Plan development process.


•Energy Summits in which the process to develop The Energy Plan is presented and discussed.


•Issuance of Press Releases have been sent to the Cook County News Herald, WTIP and posted on Boreal.

•A printed copy made available at the Grand Marais Public Library.

Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Cook County Board; Cook County Local Energy Project (GGLEP)
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790

Resilient City Growth {BP no.7}

2 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:
Implementation details:
Grand Marais has managed commercial and residential growth to create a vibrant downtown waterfront district. The zoning code distinguishes between the highway commercial district and the waterfront district, directing appropriate development to the waterfront that encourages walkability in downtown. Amenity of the waterfront deliberately designed to enhance attractiveness of commercial downtown and create a walkable commercial district. The City has also encouraged higher density housing in and adjacent to the downtown.

The EDA is the process of updating the county housing study and plans to have a shovel-ready workforce housing project by the end of 2015.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790

Mixed Uses {BP no.8}

3 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:
Implementation details:
Mixed use zoning – The Downtown Waterfront district and the Commercial-Residential Mixed Use District provide a clear walkable and pedestrian scale commercial core and a mixed use transition area to the residential areas.

Purpose Statement - The Core Downtown Waterfront district is intended to promote a mix of shops, restaurants and professional services that serve both the year round and seasonal or visitor populations. The emphasis in this district is on commercial services as a primary function, where residential uses can fit as a secondary function and can add to the liveliness and viability of the downtown. There is an emphasis on creating an attractive pedestrian environment that makes the Core Downtown and Waterfront of the City a destination in and of itself. New uses in this district should not detract from other existing uses.

The Downtown Waterfront district limits large (more than 10,000 sq ft) commercial stores, and includes design standards to create visual consistency and pedestrian-friendly elements.
Purpose Statement - The Commercial-Residential Mixed Use district can be characterized as a transition zone from the downtown and Highway 61 commercial areas to the residential parts of Grand Marais, and an expansion area for the downtown commercial uses. The MU district is intended to promote the current character of a neighborhood that includes a mix of residential, lodging, professional and small scale retail uses that are compatible with this character. Site design standards for new development, redevelopment and expansion should reflect the mixed use character and reflect the current lot coverage and setback characteristics found within the concept area.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790

Transportation Transportation

Living Streets {BP no.11}

1 star - Action 1:

Adopt a complete streets policy, or a living streets policy, which addresses landscaping and stormwater.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City has worked with MnDOT and the County to identify needs for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, and then created a complete street system in the downtown area that includes bike paths along Hwy 61, painted bike lanes on the streets throughout the downtown, and bike parking throughout city.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
MN Department of Transportation; Cook County
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790
1 star - Action 6:

Implement traffic calming policy/measures, including lane conversions (road diets), roundabouts, 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:
Implementation details:
The City narrowed streets for traffic calming, built bump outs in the downtown and on streets around the school to make walking to school safer. Other traffic calming includes speed radar signs to get people to slow down coming into town on Highway 61.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790

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:
Implementation details:
a. b.
The City and County worked with Sawtooth Mountain Clinic to launch an active living campaign - “Moving matters” (http://becausemovingmatters.org/about/ – funded by a Blue Cross/Blue Shield grant to the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic. The program includes educational efforts, maps and designated bike and walking routes, grants to do small projects like the bike repair stations, and promoting healthy living/transportation. The effort also includes a safe routes to school component and a website; Becausemovingmatters.org.
The Moving Matters program includes a “Great Places Project” (http://becausemovingmatters.org/greatplaceproject/) for creating people friendly areas in commercial area and community gathering places by awarding grants to businesses and organizations for installing public art, pedestrian infrastructure like outdoor seating, and landscaping.

b.
The City added two bike repair stands in public spaces for bicyclists to do repairs to their bikes.

d.
In 2009, the First Congregational Church of Christ created the “Workers on Wheels” program. The program renovates old bicycles for foreign workers who are coming in to work in the tourist service industry, but who do not have cars or other transportation. The program has 60 bikes in service. See story at http://www.cookcountynews-herald.com/news/2014-09-13/General_News/Busy_year_for_Workers_on_Wheels.html.
The City created a unique initiative to address the safety and mobility issues along Highway 61, identified through the Moving Matters efforts to engage the community. MNDOT had no plans for upgrades or improvements in its 20-year plan. Grand Marais engaged MnDOT’s complete streets and design flexibility staff to come to the City and conduct workshops and participate in a conceptual redesign process for Hwy 61 that filled bicycle trail gaps, addressed ROW conflicts, and improved pedestrian safety. As a result, MnDOT has now identified a redesign project in Grand Marais. The City and Moving Matters incorporated a redesign community engagement process in 2014. A number of facilitated stakeholder meetings, hosted by MnDOT and the City, were held. Stakeholders participated in a design and functional discussion to accommodate more pedestrian, multi-model traffic, enhance walkability, improve accessibility. Implementation targeted for 2020.

Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790
1 star - Action 6:

Add/expand transit service, or promote car/bike sharing.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Arrowhead transit has a transit circuit that runs around the town, and provides on-demand service for seniors.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790

Environmental Management Environmental Management

Stormwater Management {BP no.17}

2 star - Action 5:

Adopt and implement guidelines or design standards/incentives for at least one of the following stormwater infiltration/reuse practices:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Narrowing of streets/Road diet - Downtown streets were done in 2004. 1st, 2nd, 3rd Ave were done in 2008.
North House paving of the common area is with water permeable pavers with a grid beneath to channel water to retention and infiltration areas, rather than directly into the Lake. The North House Harbor-Side Commons Revitalization Project received a grant from the Minnesota Lake Superior Coastal Program in 2011 to revitalize an important Grand Marais waterfront property and outdoor community resource located on City of Grand Marais property. These improvements: 1) Improved harbor water quality by removing blacktop located adjacent to the harbor 2) Protected water quality by relocating public parking away from the harbor 3) Enhanced the property's public accessibility and aesthetic character, and, 4) Modeled environmental building strategies by utilizing pervious paving systems as well as stormwater treatment techniques.
In a related project, several entities collaborated to build a covered bridge for over a landscaped drainage/ infiltration basin. The bridge was built by high school students as a collaborative effort between Northshore Folk school and the public school. The drainage area slows the infiltrates the flow, retains sediments, from street stormwater runoff. The drainage used to flow largely unimpeded into the lake shore. The swale is vegetated with deep-rooted native plants that provide both storm water mitigation and a visual amenity. The covered bridge connects the walking trail in the campground to the plaza in the Folk School, and then to the public bike/ped trail leading into the downtown and harbor area.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Northshore Folk school, City public schools
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790

Parks and Trails {BP no.18}

1 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 complete street downtown area is connected to the Gitchee Gammi regional bike trail.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790
2 star - Action 2:

Plan and budget for a network of parks, green spaces, water features and trails for areas where new development is planned.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The Grand Marais Campground and Marina has a Master Plan adopted in about 6 years ago. See grandmaraisrecreationarea.com

Creation of Downtown/Harbor Open Space - In 1996, the City worked with a variety of agencies and other partners to create permanent open and green space on the harbor in the downtown, on a site previously occupied by a gas station. The brownfield site was remediated and turned into a park, which then received a Minnesota Coastal Management grant for landscaping, park amenities, and other gathering place design elements. The land is protected by a conservation easement and is thus permanently open.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790

Surface Water {BP no.19}

1 star - Action 2:

Conduct or support multi-party community conversations, assessments, plans around improving local water quality and quantity.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City and County have supported and received numerous Minnesota Coastal Program grants for improving water quality in Lake Superior subwatersheds and for improving shoreland areas and stormwater impacts in streams and rivers flowing into Lake Superior.


http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/waters/lakesuperior/sum_coe.html
306-star04-11
306-STAR07-11
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790
2 star - Action 4:

Adopt a shoreland ordinance for all river and lake shoreland areas; reduce flooding and costs through The National Flood Insurance Program's Community Rating System.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Grand Marais is an active member of the North Shore Management Board, a joint powers board charged with overseeing development activities in the Lake Superior shoreland area; property that lies between Lake Superior and a line that is 300 feet inland from Highway 61 or a line that is 1,000 feet from Lake Superior, whichever is greater. The North Shore Management Board and the ordinances documented by the Board are the legal equivalent of the Minnesota Shoreland Rules, and the ordinances are considered the equivalent of Shoreland ordinances administered in the rest of the State.

http://www.co.cook.mn.us/images/stories/pzoning/ordinances/zoning/article_7_shoreland_management_10.25.10.pdf
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790

Sustainable Consumption and Waste {BP no.22}

2 star - Action 4:

Publicize, promote and use the varied businesses/services collecting and marketing used, repaired and rental consumer goods, especially electronics, in the city/county.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Recycling programs. The County manages solid waste for the City, and runs the recycling center located by the hospital. The recycling center takes plastics (#1&2), cans, glass, cardboard, mixed paper, and waste oil. The county runs computers/electronics collection twice a year, and has hazardous waste collection days twice a year.
The county and city supported the development of, and promote on the County web-site, a second-hand store (the Budget Shop) at the recycling site to facilitate reuse.
To facilitate recycling by tourists and visitors, the City has placed recycling receptacles throughout the downtown/harbor/tourist area, immediately adjacent to the waste receptacles.
Senior center – 1st and 2nd – volunteers who earn money for non-profits of their choice. Odd & Ends – volunteer run facility for furniture recycling and reuse.
The city also provides recycling services at its campground, collecting a variety of recyclables that enter the County recycling system.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Cook County
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790

Resilient Economic & Community Development Resilient Economic and Community Development

Benchmarks and Community Engagement {BP no.24}

Pending - Action 6:

Engage community youth and college students by creating opportunities to participate in city government.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2017
Implementation details:
Local youth involved with iMatter were instrumental in creating a Climate Inheritance Resolution, which was passed unanimously by the Grand Marais City Council in February of 2017. This action directly lead to the creation of a Climate Action Plan Coordinator. The iMatter youth were active on the Climate Action Plan Committee, which shaped the Climate Action Plan. The Plan was adopted by the Grand Marais City Council in June of 2019.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790

Green Business Development {BP no.25}

3 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:
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/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790
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:
The City provides educational information on energy efficiency and GMPUC programs in its buildings along with other information. CCLEP develops the promotional information, the City helps disseminate it.

CCLEP has developed several programs to assist local contractors with using green building techniques and energy efficiency and renewable energy development.

CCLEP also works with the City and County to recognize renewable energy development as an economic development/job creation strategy. CCLEP/Cook County Community Center are sponsoring a contractor/building workshop for the building industry to incorporate green building techniques.



Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
CCLEP
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790
2 star - Action 3:

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

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
2 star - Action 6:

Promote green businesses that are recognized under a local, regional or national program.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
In 2015 Grand Marais was awarded the “Coolest Small Town in America” in recognition of its many natural amenities and recreation opportunities, its diversity of services and businesses for a small town, and its creative community and promotion of that community. The Grand Marais Art Colony was chosen as one of the top 10 artist colonies in America and the City was recognized as a “Top 100 Adventure Town”. These recognitions and assets are actively promoted on the “Visit Cook County” website, http://www.visitcookcounty.com/communities/grand-marais/.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790
1 star - Action 7:

Conduct or participate in a buy local campaign for community members and local businesses.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Cook County Chamber conducts a buy-local campaign every year.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790

Renewable Energy {BP no.26}

1 star - Action 1:

Adopt wind energy and/or biomass ordinances that allow, enable, or encourage appropriate renewable energy installations.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Interconnection Agreement - Grand Marais Public Utility Commission and the Arrowhead Electric Cooperative adopted solar interconnection guidelines from SMPPA.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790
3 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:
Implementation details:
Local Clean Energy Initiative. The Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP) is a non-profit organization that is funded by the City, County and EDA. The CCLEP action plan and mission is:
Engender community conversation about energy issues through public meetings, radio shows, newspaper articles, on-line postings, and a dedicated website.
Build and strengthen a network of interested parties to improve communication about, and increase coordination of, local energy projects.
Investigate feasibility of various energy efficiency and renewable energy production options specific to Cook County.
Gather, organize, and make available, information about energy issues.
Develop and maintain a website to make energy information easy to access and useful to our community.
Engage with local units of government to enact policies that enhance local energy efficiency and renewable energy development.
Encourage the establishment of a local energy industry by assisting local businesses and non-profits with their energy projects.
Develop, maintain and implement a county wide Energy Plan.Cook County Solar Guide - CCLEP developed a solar guide that provides educational guidance for how to install solar on residential and small businesses. The Solar Initiative Project is to raise awareness of the benefits of PV systems and to assist Cook County residents in evaluating options that work best for them.
In Cook County there is an average potential of producing 4.4 kWh per square meter per day from the sun. With the price of solar panel installation plummeting in the past few years to an all time low of about $3.75 per watt for roof installations (more for ground mount systems), solar has become an attractive option for generating electricity especially when the federal tax credit for solar systems is exercised.
Most Cook County residents are unaware how economically attractive PV systems have become and with a little over a year remaining on the federal tax credit for solar installations, CCLEP has identified an opportunity and need to establish a “path” of public information for Cook County citizens who want to consider installing solar systems.
There are a number of complications that can arise during the design and installation process. These need to be sorted out to reduce barriers and establish options for local solar development.
The Solar Initiative produced Going Solar: A Cook County Guide booklet and Solar Choices, a brochure. Both are available on the CCLEP website. Public workshops and tours are offered. They are based on the information in these publications and the experience of solar PV owners. To supplement the solar guide, CCLEP hosts local workshops promoting solar development and guiding interested parties through their question about solar.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790
1 star - Action 4:

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

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Local Clean Energy Initiative. The Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP) is a non-profit organization that is funded by the City, County and EDA. The CCLEP action plan and mission is:


•Engender community conversation about energy issues through public meetings, radio shows, newspaper articles, on-line postings, and a dedicated website.


•Build and strengthen a network of interested parties to improve communication about, and increase coordination of, local energy projects.


•Investigate feasibility of various energy efficiency and renewable energy production options specific to Cook County.


•Gather, organize, and make available, information about energy issues.


•Develop and maintain a website to make energy information easy to access and useful to our community.


•Engage with local units of government to enact policies that enhance local energy efficiency and renewable energy development.


•Encourage the establishment of a local energy industry by assisting local businesses and non-profits with their energy projects.

•Develop, maintain and implement a county wide Energy Plan.

Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790
2 star - Action 5:

Install a public sector/municipally-owned renewable energy technology, such as solar electric (PV), wind, biomass, solar hot water/air, or micro-hydro.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
City Solar Installation. Gunflint Hills Solar is a public solar installation at the City-owned golf course. This project was a partnership between the City of Grand Marais, Cook County, the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation (IRRRB) and CCLEP.
Gunflint Hills Solar was installed during the fall of 2012 with a monitoring system installed in the fall of 2013. Average energy production is approximately 750 - 800 kWh per month which is enough electricity to power 2-3 typical homes without electric heat. The system has a 7.41 kilowatt, pole-mounted, grid-tied photovoltaic (PV) system with these components:
Thirty-nine 190-watt panels by Silicon Energy
MOUNTS multi-pole single axis tracker
3 & 5-kilowatt Power One Aurora Inverters
A two directional meter
A monitoring system
Output is posted to the CCLEP website and is updated monthly at http://www.cookcountylocalenergy.org/groups/solar/gunflint-hills-solar
The system in "grid tied" meaning the electricity from the solar panels flows into the electrical grid that carries the electricity throughout the county. Savings to date are 25,000 kW-hrs, $3,050 and 26.2 tons of CO2. The meter at the Clubhouse can spin two directions depending on panel output and Clubhouse use. Any excess goes into the grid and is credited on the City of Grand Marais' electrical bill from provider Arrowhead Cooperative.
City Campground Solar Thermal - A five-panel solar hot water system was installed on Bathhouse #4 in the City campground in 2011.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790

Local Food {BP no.27}

3 star - Action 2:

Facilitate creation of home/community gardens, chicken & bee keeping, and incorporation of food growing areas/access in multifamily residential developments.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Northwoods Food project is a non-profit organization who's purpose is to increase Cook County's long term food sustainability and self reliance by eating and growing locally produced food. Some of the ways to accomplish this is through:
Develop community garden space that can be utilized by market gardeners, low-income residents and food shelf users that includes education on northern climate growing techniques, seasonal eating, low tech water usage, composting, food preservation, root cellaring and cooking with unprocessed foods.
Provide education / training / marketing to potential food micro-enterprises for use of locally grown food products.
Provide food based internship and educational opportunities for local youth.
Conduct research projects to develop uniquely suited vegetable & fruit varieties that do well in our northern climate.
Develop an evaluation system for long-term viability and sustainability of the Northwood's Food Project.

The Northwood Food Project is supported by and promoted on the Cook County website; http://www.co.cook.mn.us/index.php/northwoods-food-project#sthash.tAYmLEj9.dpuf. The project is run from the Cook County Community Center in Grand Marais.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790
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:
Northwoods Food project is a non-profit organization who's purpose is to increase Cook County's long term food sustainability and self reliance by eating and growing locally produced food. Some of the ways to accomplish this is through:
Developing county-wide linkages / communications between the public, for-profit and non-profit food sectors.



Farmers Markets: The City support Farmers market in the downtown on City-owned lots every weekend.

School forest and garden: ISD 166 School District has a forest maintained and used for educational purposes on the K-12 School site. School also maintains small gardens in the elementary school area.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
1 star - Action 4:

Measurably increase institutional buying, and sales through groceries and restaurants.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Promotion of Local Food. A number of restaurants that promote and use local foods. The Angry Trout is the primary restaurant that is almost exclusively local, and actively promotes it. A local dairy processes non-pasterized products for local sale.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790

Climate Adaptation and Community Resilience {BP no.29}

Pending - Action 8:

Improve local energy resilience by minimizing fuel poverty, installing distributed renewable energy systems, and developing microgrids that can improve energy system resiliency.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2019
Implementation details:
The Grand Marais PUC, Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, Clean Energy Resource Teams, and the Cook County Local Energy Project teamed up to create an LED light bulb installation program which provides low income residents with up to 8 new LED bulbs for their homes. This program, which is ongoing, aims provides low income residents with practical energy savings by installing new LED bulbs into high-use sockets in their homes. The bulbs are ENERGY STAR rated.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shane Steele (Contractor) | shane.w.steele@gmail.com | 507-884-5790