City Detail

Background Information

City of Hackensack
County: Cass
Population: 320
GreenStep City category: B
Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.): 3
Participating township, county, school:

GreenStep Coordinator

Gary Dietrich
Community Volunteer
218-675-6400
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: 23
1 star actions: 13
2 star actions: 9
3 star actions: 1

Buildings and Lighting Buildings and Lighting

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: 2021
Implementation details:
In collaboration with CERTs, provided information to all city residents (via quarterly newsletter) detailing residential energy assessment opportunities available from local utilities, including benefits, potential cost savings, and how to schedule assessments.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Clean Energy Resource Teams
For more information contact:
Gary Dietrich (Community Volunteer) | garydietrich@icloud.com | 612-801-3345
1 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: 2021
Implementation details:
Grocery store lighting upgraded to LEDs. Animal shelter has LED lighting and efficient HVAC system.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Gary Dietrich (Community Volunteer) | garydietrich@icloud.com | 612-801-3345

Efficient Outdoor Lighting and Signals {BP no.4}

1 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: 2021
Implementation details:
All future street lights required to be LED as per comprehensive plan:
"Replacing municipally-owned outdoor lighting, converting a minimum 10% of fixtures each year. Ensure all new City outdoor lighting is LED going forward."
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Gary Dietrich (Community Volunteer) | garydietrich@icloud.com | 612-801-3345
1 star - Action 3:

Replace the city's existing street lighting with Dark Sky-compliant LEDs, modifying any city franchise/utility agreement and adding smart grid attributes.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2021
Implementation details:
Street lights along First Street (one of the two major commercial streets) were replaced with Dark Sky compliant LED fixtures. Lights on the other major commercial street will similarly be replaced with LED fixtures during reconstruction of MN Hwy 371 next year. Future lights will also be LED.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Gary Dietrich (Community Volunteer) | garydietrich@icloud.com | 612-801-3345

Land Use Land Use

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

2 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: 2021
Implementation details:
The Hackensack City Council formally adopted an updated comprehensive plan in September 2021 after a process facilitated by Region 5 Development Commission and involving extensive community engagement. Sustainability and active living concerns are considered extensively in the comprehensive plan.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Region 5 Development Commission
For more information contact:
Gary Dietrich (Community Volunteer) | garydietrich@icloud.com | 612-801-3345
2 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: 2021
Implementation details:
As part of the Energy and Environment Plan (included in attached Comprehensive Plan, pp.22ff), the city adopted energy goals:
1. Reduce citywide grid electricity consumption by 10% by 2026 (in 2020 average Residential annual consumption was 2,481MWh and City annual consumption was 229MWh).
2. Consume zero grid electricity in 25 years (by 2046) in the city limits.
3. Prevent or mitigate the negative impacts of power grid failure for Hackensack area residents and the City.
4. Communicate our achievements, plans, and direction to constituents and other stakeholders.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
Region 5 Development Commission
For more information contact:
Gary Dietrich (Community Volunteer) | garydietrich@icloud.com | 612-801-3345

Mixed Uses {BP no.8}

1 star - Action 2:

Locate or lease a property for use as 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: Unknown
Implementation details:
City Hall is located in the town's major commercial district, with residential properties (including multifamily) in close proximity. City hall is easily accessible by expanded sidewalks and is also adjacent to a major bike trail.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Gary Dietrich (Community Volunteer) | garydietrich@icloud.com | 612-801-3345

Efficient Highway- and Auto-Oriented Development {BP no.9}

1 star - Action 1:

Establish design goals for at least one highway/auto-oriented corridor/cluster.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2021
Implementation details:
The City has worked with MNDOT on a design for reconstruction of the main highway through town (371) that will vastly improve safety, walkability, and stormwater management. It will also create a more inviting space along this highway corridor:

"In 2024, MNDoT will be replacing Hwy 371 from County 40 to just north of County 5. This includes curbs, gutters, boulevards (space between curb and sidewalk), and sidewalks. This also includes the new roundabout that will go in just south of the current intersection of Hwy 371 and County 5."

It will include the installation of solar powered pedestrian crossing light to improve safety, as well as an EV charger (one block from the highway, funded by MN Power).
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
MNDOT. MN Power.
For more information contact:
Gary Dietrich (Community Volunteer) | garydietrich@icloud.com | 612-801-3345

Transportation Transportation

Living & Complete 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: 2021
Implementation details:
The City's comprehensive plan, adopted in 2021, specifically calls out complete streets, as well as the following:
"Identify and enhance pedestrian crossings to promote safety and walkability.
This looks like:
• Considering opportunities for additional bicycle and pedestrian friendly infrastructure.
• Improving and expanding bicycle lanes, sidewalks, crosswalks, and multi-use trails."

and

"Review and enhance design of roads, trails, sidewalks, and crossings to provide safe and easy navigation for all users (pedestrians, wheelchairs, bikes, motorized vehicles where allowed/authorized).
This looks like:
• Working with local community groups to upgrade trees and lighting in the city parks.
• Promoting bike trails, north country hiking trails, and cross-country ski trails in the winter (Deep
Portage and Heartland Trail)
• Being an official preferred stop on the Paul Bunyan trail"


Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Gary Dietrich (Community Volunteer) | garydietrich@icloud.com | 612-801-3345
1 star - Action 3:

Modify a street in compliance with the city's complete streets policy.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2021
Implementation details:
First Street reconstruction project.

Completed: Bump-outs. New sidewalks. Tree planting. Decorative LED street lighting. Stormwater management. New water main. Coming soon: EV charger (in storage, ready to be installed as soon as a supply chain issue is resolved.)

All this is adjacent to commercial area, Paul Bunyan bike trail, and Birch Lake Park (which hosts very popular kids' fishing contest, library, and summer concert series).
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Gary Dietrich (Community Volunteer) | garydietrich@icloud.com | 612-801-3345
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:
Completed reconstruction of 1st Street (one of the city's primary commercial spaces) with bump-outs, expanded pedestrian sidewalks, streetscaping, and improved storm sewers.
Also reduced posted speed limit in a section of road adjacent to the city's major manufacturing facility (Mann Lake Ag and Bee Supply) to address pedestrian and forklift safety concerns.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Gary Dietrich (Community Volunteer) | garydietrich@icloud.com | 612-801-3345

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: 2021
Implementation details:
In addition to the existing Paul Bunyan Trail that goes through Hackensack, the City has added 5 bike racks in locations around town and has two bike shops: one that is also a coffeeshop, and one that has e-bikes!
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Gary Dietrich (Community Volunteer) | garydietrich@icloud.com | 612-801-3345
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: 2021
Implementation details:
A list of all the transportation options are now located on the Hackensack City webpage. It does not contain links, as most of our transportation options do not have webpages of their own. Located on the city webpage is the name of the transportation option, their hours, address, and email and phone number for the business.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Miranda Sater (City Staff) | miranda.sater@gmail.com | 3207605576

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: 2021
Implementation details:
First Street: 25 trees were planted (mixture of crabapple, linden, maples). Grates were added to protect roots and trees, and an irrigation system installed. Planting was a community event: many people showed up to help plant the trees, and a party was held afterward, with a drink token from the local brewery provided to each volunteer. Fun was had by all!
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Gary Dietrich (Community Volunteer) | garydietrich@icloud.com | 612-801-3345
1 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: 2021
Implementation details:
Miranda Sater, the Community Forestry Corps Member, became a Certified Tree Inspector for the State of MN on January 4th, 2021.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Miranda Sater (City Staff) | miranda.sater@gmail.com | 3207605576
3 star - Action 7:

Conduct a tree inventory or canopy study for public and private trees.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2020
Implementation details:
A tree inventory was conducted in 2020 by the AmeriCorps Forestry member, which counted 18 different tree species currently in the City limits. The most common trees include Paper Birch, Maple (three varieties: silver, sugar, and amur), Norway Spruce, Quaking Aspen, Pine (Red and White), and Ash (Green and White). Increasing the species diversity would be a good strategy to prevent losing a significant portion of tree cover should a disease wipe out a specific variety.
An estimate of tree cover was conducted for the City in 2020 using the iTree online platform. This estimate showed:
• 30.2% tree coverage for the City, which translates to 197 acres of tree coverage.
• At 2 tons of CO2 equivalent sequestered per acre per year, [19] these City trees currently sequester 394
tons of CO2 equivalent annually.
• Additional benefits include removing nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, and particulate matter from
the air.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Americorps - Forestry Corps
For more information contact:
Gary Dietrich (Community Volunteer) | garydietrich@icloud.com | 612-801-3345

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: 2020
Implementation details:
The city of Hackensack acquired some land in town to be kept as a woodland and wildlife preserve. It was named Bonna Paulson Wildlife Observatory. Within the past year, we have added a community garden to that area, and the walking trails are mowed during the spring, summer, and fall months to create accessible walking trails for the community. We have recently added signage to the entrance of the park to encourage our community members to use the park, and have placed a large sign on Highway 371 in our downtown, with arrows and instructions on how to get to Bonna Paulson Wildlife Observatory. There is a shelter near the entrance of the park, along with a small parking area for vehicles. Around the walking trails, benches and picnic tables have been placed to encourage citizens to sit and enjoy the nature around them.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
By adding different amenities (benches, parking, signage) we have seen an increase in use of the trails at Bonna Paulson Wildlife Observatory. Our hope is that now that the signage has been added, people who visit our area only in the summertime will understand exactly where the park is located, and will use the park to observe and enjoy nature.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Miranda Sater (City Staff) | miranda.sater@gmail.com | 3207605576

Resilient Economic & Community Development Resilient Economic and Community Development

Benchmarks and Community Engagement {BP no.24}

2 star - Action 1:

Inclusive and Coordinated Decision-Making: Use a city commission or committee to lead, coordinate, report to and engage community members on the identification and equitable implementation of sustainability best practices.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2020
Implementation details:
Hackensack has formed a GreenStep committe consisting of members of the community. Gary Dietrich is the head of the committee and members Mike Tauber or Miranda Sater give a monthly report to the city council. The minutes are then published on the city website. The committee also publishes articles in Lucette's Gazette, a newsletter that goes out to our community approximately six times per year. The articles so far featured our Community Garden, the funding project for a future EV charging station, and the additions we have made to Bonna Paulson Park over the past few months. Our City Webpage also has a link to the GreenStep City webpage, so our community members can see how much progress we are making.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Miranda Sater (City Staff) | miranda.sater@gmail.com | 3207605576
1 star - Action 2:

Communicating Progress on Goals: Organize goals/outcome measures from all city plans (social, environmental, economic) 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: 2021
Implementation details:
City's comprehensive plan includes clear goals and is hosted on the City's website. In addition, progress on City goals is communicated to all residents via the quarterly City newsletter, Lucette's Gazette.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Gary Dietrich (Community Volunteer) | garydietrich@icloud.com | 612-801-3345
1 star - Action 5:

Planning with a Purpose: Conduct a community visioning and planning initiative that engages a diverse set of community members & stakeholders and uses a sustainability, resilience, or environmental justice framework such as:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2021
Implementation details:
The Community Garden of Hackensack has hosted an Garden Expo for the last 2 years (2020 and 2021) to inform members of the community how to properly care for a no-till, no chemical garden. This year, we also added a presentation on how to store and save seeds for the next planting season, and a presentation on what community members can do to help the pollinator population in our area. This meeting was open to anyone in surrounding communities as well. An article was published recently in Lucette's Gazette, giving more information on the Community Garden.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Miranda Sater (City Staff) | miranda.sater@gmail.com | 3207605576

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: 2021
Implementation details:
In collaboration with CERTs and Minnesota Power, conducted in-person business visits about energy efficiency assessments (MN Power) and solar site assessments (CERTs), resulting in assessments and efficiency upgrades at multiple businesses in town.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Clean Energy Resource Teams and Minnesota Power
For more information contact:
Gary Dietrich (Community Volunteer) | garydietrich@icloud.com | 612-801-3345

Renewable Energy {BP no.26}

2 star - Action 6:

Report installed private sector-owned renewable energy/energy efficient generation capacity with at least one of the following attributes:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2017
Implementation details:
Paws and Claws Pet Rescue and Resort has a 40 kW solar array. The building is also energy efficient, and the grounds include walking trails and pollinator gardens.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Paws and Claws; Clean Energy Resource Teams
For more information contact:
Gary Dietrich (Community Volunteer) | garydietrich@icloud.com | 612-801-3345

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: 2020
Implementation details:
The community garden of Hackensack was established summer of 2020. It is located in a park in the downtown area of Hackensack called Bonna Park. The garden has 17 plots that are sized 10x10, 1 plot that is 14x20, and 2 plots that are 9x10. The garden also has 6 raised circle beds, along with a well, and a donated shed for gardeners to keep their tools and soil inside. This garden is enclosed by a fence, in order to keep wildlife from disturbing the plots. A No-Till system was used in the garden, to keep the soil healthy. No pesticides or herbicides are used in the garden in order to reduce contamination. The garden this year was mostly used for vegetable production.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Gary Dietrich (Community Volunteer) | garydietrich@icloud.com | 612-801-3345