City Detail

Background Information

City of Granite Falls
County: Yellow Medicine,Chippewa
Population: 2806
GreenStep City category: B
Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.): 35
Participating township, county, school:

GreenStep Coordinator

Crystal Johnson
City Staff
320-56-3011
City web page relating to sustainability/GreenStep activities:
GreenStep City resolution: Click here to view the file.
GreenStep City status and date: STEP 1 ( )

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: 4
2 star actions: 14
3 star actions: 2

Buildings and Lighting Buildings and Lighting

Efficient Existing Public Buildings {BP no.1}

1 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: 2016
Implementation details:
replaced City owned Library with all LED lighting.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Resulted in more efficient lighting.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Crystal Johnson (City staff) | crystal.johnson@granitefalls.com | 320-56-3011
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: CJ
Implementation details:
City employees are required to shut lights and computers off every evening to save power. Appliances also not in use are often unplugged. Some lights in City Hall are further now motion sensing lights saving power when no one is around.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Monitor electric costs.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Crystal Johnson (City staff) | crystal.johnson@granitefalls.com | 320-56-3011

Efficient Existing Private Buildings {BP no.2}

2 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: 2019
Implementation details:
The City partners with CMPAS to offer a rebate incentive program for more energy efficient lighting, appliances, water heaters and more to encourage both businesses and residents to be more energy efficient.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
CMPAS
For more information contact:
Crystal Johnson (City staff) | crystal.johnson@granitefalls.com | 320-56-3011

Efficient Outdoor Lighting and Signals {BP no.4}

2 star - Action 2:

Purchase LEDs for all future street lighting and traffic signals.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2013
Implementation details:
The city of Granite Falls each year replaces a block or two of street lights to LEDs.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
This results in more efficient lighting.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Crystal Johnson (City staff) | crystal.johnson@granitefalls.com | 320-56-3011

Building Redevelopment {BP no.5}

2 star - Action 1:

Adopt an historic preservation ordinance/regulations and encourage adaptive reuse.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2019
Implementation details:
The City implemented a downtown historic district which includes historic preservation friendly language to preserve the historic look of downtown Granite Falls. Further a committee will review any improvements proposed by the downtown businesses to ensure they follow the historic preservation district requirements.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Cathy Anderson EDA Director
For more information contact:
Crystal Johnson (City staff) | crystal.johnson@granitefalls.com | 320-56-3011

Land Use Land Use

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

1 star - Action 4:

Include ecological provisions in the comprehensive plan that explicitly aim to minimize open space fragmentation and/or establish a growth area with expansion criteria.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2016
Implementation details:
The City recently approved the Memorial Park Master Plan. Over the years the park has suffered ecological degradation as invasive species have proliferated. A strong piece of this plan is to design a program for ongoing maintenance of invasive species. Certain areas of the park are specially marked to preserve unique plant species. Different kinds of plants have been identified in the plan. Invasive cattail has also been addressed.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The City has been awarded a grant to start implementing the master plan
Descriptive File:
RDC, and a consultant assisted
For more information contact:
Crystal Johnson (City staff) | crystal.johnson@granitefalls.com | 320-56-3011

Transportation Transportation

Mobility Options {BP no.12}

1 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: 2017
Implementation details:
City has added the first bike station in the community.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Crystal Johnson (City staff) | crystal.johnson@granitefalls.com | 320-56-3011
2 star - Action 2:

Conduct an Active Living campaign such as a Safe Routes to School program.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2019
Implementation details:
In partner with SHIP, Yellow Medicine East High School, The Granite Falls Hospital, and the City of Granite Falls identified multiple new walking/biking routes throughout the community with signage.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
To encourage residents and visitors to walk and bike around the community.
Descriptive File:
SHIP, Yellow Medicine School, Granite Falls Hospital, City of Granite Falls
For more information contact:
Crystal Johnson (City staff) | crystal.johnson@granitefalls.com | 320-56-3011
2 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: 2000
Implementation details:
The Heartland Express is the public transit system for Granite Falls. It provides door to door transportation for within the city. To obtain a ride, a person can call the number provided on the city's website.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Crystal Johnson (City staff) | crystal.johnson@granitefalls.com | 320-56-3011
3 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: 2017
Implementation details:
SHIP partnered with the City of Granite Falls to start a Public Bike Service within the City of Granite Falls.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Three Bikes available at no costs for the public to check out and be active around the community/tourism.
Descriptive File:
Countryside Public Health SHIP
For more information contact:
Crystal Johnson (City staff) | crystal.johnson@granitefalls.com | 320-56-3011

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: 1986
Implementation details:
As of 2016, Granite Falls has been a Tree City USA for 30 years.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Crystal Johnson (City staff) | crystal.johnson@granitefalls.com | 320-56-3011
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:
The City of Granite falls has a dedicated city staff member who is our City forester and holds a tree inspecting and first detector certification. The City further has an Dutch elm program that has funding set aside to pay to remove diseased elm trees. City forester checks trees for rot and diseases for free. The City also has the lady slippers club and volunteers that each year cleans flower beds and removes invasive weeds.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Crystal Johnson (City staff) | crystal.johnson@granitefalls.com | 320-56-3011

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: 2017
Implementation details:
The City will be repairing the primary shelter house, improving signage, as well as building new restrooms in Memorial park.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Crystal Johnson (City staff) | crystal.johnson@granitefalls.com | 320-56-3011
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: CJ
Implementation details:
City has master plan to adopt renewed water area in Memorial Park, along with new Trails planned by new camping spots.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
Tom Whitlock, RDC, DNR
For more information contact:
Crystal Johnson (City staff) | crystal.johnson@granitefalls.com | 320-56-3011

Efficient Water and Wastewater Systems {BP no.20}

2 star - Action 3:

Establish an on-going budget and program for decreasing inflow and infiltration into sewer lines and losses in drinking water systems.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2016
Implementation details:
The City of Granite falls has undertaken over the past few years I and I projects that have decreased water into the wastewater treatment plant.

For example:

The Following are I & I projects completed this year:

Minnesota Avenue, Washington Street to Baldwin Street, sanitary sewer was slip lined and all manholes repaired and relined (I & I was present from river and abandoned services).

Alley west of Prentice Street, from 8th Avenue to 7th Avenue. Sanitary sewer, storm sewer and watermain were all replaced. Cross connection had been indicated during smoke testing.

6th Street, from T.H. 212 to 12th Avenue. Replaced watermain and sanitary sewer and plugged catch basins that were thought to flow into sanitary sewer.

School corrected a MASSIVE cross-connection from their roof drains into the sanitary sewer.
All their roof water was draining into the sanitary sewer system. Since this was completed very recently we want to wait to publish data but so far it appears to have a significant decrease into the system.

2017 will be more I and I projects.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Dave Berryman
For more information contact:
Crystal Johnson (City staff) | crystal.johnson@granitefalls.com | 320-56-3011

Resilient Economic & Community Development Resilient Economic and Community Development

Renewable Energy {BP no.26}

1 star - Action 3:

Promote financing and incentive programs such as PACE for clean energy:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City of Granite Falls offers financial rebates for lighting, Commercial/Industrial rebates along with heating/cooling, and appliance rebates.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Give financial incentive to be more energy efficient.
Descriptive File:
CMPAS, City of Granite Falls
For more information contact:
Crystal Johnson (City staff) | crystal.johnson@granitefalls.com | 320-56-3011
3 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: 2017
Implementation details:
City is partnering with CMPAS/SMMPA for a solar project in Owatanna MN. The power generated will be sold to Granite Falls residents as solar subscriptions for a form of green energy.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Crystal Johnson (City staff) | crystal.johnson@granitefalls.com | 320-56-3011
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: 2017
Implementation details:
The City in 2017 has approved to install a Solar Panel in Highland Park that will tap into our electrical system. The City of Granite Falls is a electric utility provider. The City further will be selling solar subscriptions to residents who wish to partake in green energy. They City also has a Hydro-Electric Plant.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Crystal Johnson (City staff) | crystal.johnson@granitefalls.com | 320-56-3011

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: 2016
Implementation details:
The City of Granite Falls has a yearly Farmers Market to provide food options to residents. City allows the Market to be held in the City's parking lot.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Crystal Johnson (City staff) | crystal.johnson@granitefalls.com | 320-56-3011

Business Synergies and EcoDistricts {BP no.28}

2 star - Action 2:

Document that at least one business/building uses waste heat or water discharge from another business or conducts materials exchange activities with another organization.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2018
Implementation details:
Utilizing farm water run off.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Granite Falls Energy has started using water run off from tiling on an adjacent farm site for cooling at the Ethanol Plant.
Descriptive File:
Fagen Inc. Granite Falls Energy
For more information contact:
Crystal Johnson (City staff) | crystal.johnson@granitefalls.com | 320-56-3011