City Detail

Background Information

City of Lake Crystal
County: Blue Earth
Population: 2593
GreenStep City category: B
Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.): 16
Participating township, county, school:

GreenStep Coordinator

Taylor Gronau
City Staff
507-726-2538
City web page relating to sustainability/GreenStep activities:
GreenStep City resolution: Click here to view the file.
GreenStep City status and date: STEP 2 ( )

City Assessment Files and City Performance Metrics

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

Assessment File

Best Practice Actions Underway and Completed

Completed actions are denoted by stars.

Total completed actions: 20
1 star actions: 8
2 star actions: 8
3 star actions: 3

Buildings and Lighting Buildings and Lighting

Efficient Existing Public Buildings {BP no.1}

3 star - Action 1: Enter building information into the Minnesota B3 Benchmarking database and routinely enter monthly energy, water use data for all city-owned buildings.
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
As part of her MN GreenCorps service with the City of Lake Crystal, Joan Van Grinsven entered nearly 4 years of historical electrical and natural gas usage data for the 14 city owned buildings. Once all of this data was entered she checked for any inaccuracies, and fixed them. During her service time, she will be exploring ways to improve the worst performing buildings.
Joan Van Grinsven will be in charge of updating the data in a monthly basis, until her service term is over in August 2014. Before she is finished with her term, the city will train someone else to enter current data.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Using the B3 database allowed us to figure out which buildings the city should focus on improving. This turned out to be the city's recreation center and maintenance buildings. This program also allows us to notice if there are any spikes in utility usage within the water or power plants that should be addressed, even though these building types are not benchmarked.
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff) | lccity@hickorytech.net | 507-726-2538
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:
Implementation details:
The City completed a lighting upgrade in the City Shop. Existing 400 watt Metal Halide fixtures were replaced with 32 watt T8 High Bay Florescent fixtures.
On 12-18-13, six VendingMisers were installed around town. One in the city's Rec Center, one in the elementary school, and 4 in the secondary school. These will cycle the machines off after a period of inactivity, and are able to save about 50% of energy used by the vending machines.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Lighting Upgrade annual savings: 9,546.24 kwh = $859.16
Vending Miser annual savings: 1,613 kWh/machine Vending Miser total annual savings: 9,678 kWh = $871
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff) | lccity@hickorytech.net | 507-726-2538

Efficient Existing Private Buildings {BP no.2}

3 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:
Implementation details:
Lake Crystal has introduced a monthly newsletter to be sent with utility bills focusing on energy conservation tips and education about available CIP rebates and programs. This year, we have also visited the schools and presented educational programs about energy usage and energy conservation. In December the city participated in an event in which we gave participants faucet aerators along with tips on winter energy conservation. We also held a drawing for a programmable thermostat and an energy conservation kit.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Each faucet aerator that is given away will save approximately 1,600 gallons of water a year. The programmable thermostat will save one customer up to $180 a year.
The GreenStep Committee is working with the MU to implement an Electric Load Management program. As of 4/21/15 there are 97 households signed up to participate. An open house on 2/22/15 will educate residents about the program. 200 households is the goal. Installation is set to begin in the summer of 2015.
Descriptive File:
Lake Crystal Municipal Utility
For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff) | lccity@hickorytech.net | 507-726-2538
2 star - Action 6: Provide a financial or other incentive to private parties who add energy/sustainability improvements, meet the SB 2030 energy standard, or renovate using a green building or energy framework.
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The city offers a selection of rebate programs as part of CIP. Available residential CIP programs available include: rebates on select types of Energy Star Appliances, central air tune-ups, LED lights. Commercial CIP programs include rebates for select Energy Star appliances, central-air tune ups, lighting upgrades, motor upgrades, and energy audits.
Outcome measures/metrics:
At this point in 2013, kWh saved through CIP programs has been measured at 57,000 kWh. This includes both commercial and residential programs.
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff) | lccity@hickorytech.net | 507-726-2538

Land Use Land Use

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

1 star - Action 2:

Participate in regional economic development planning with representatives from surrounding townships, cities, the county and business interests to:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Lake Crystal participates in the Region Nine Development Commission, and is the Blue Earth County commission representative for cities under 10,000. The community has worked with Region Nine while implementing a Safe Routes to School program. Lake Crystal also participates in Greater Mankato Growth.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff) | lccity@hickorytech.net | 507-726-2538

Transportation Transportation

Mobility Options {BP no.12}

1 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:
Implementation details:
Lake Crystal applied for and was awarded a SRTS Planning grant in 2013. A community assessment, student tally and parent survey were conducted. In April 2015, Lake Crystal was awarded an SRTS grant for $160K for the 2019 Federal budget year. A bicycle rodeo is scheduled for May 2015. New crosswalks were painted around the school.
Outcome measures/metrics:
A final report due in May 2013 will include Engineering Strategies, Education Strategies, Encouragement Strategies, Enforcement and Evaluation Strategies. The goal is to apply for a SRTS Infrastructure grant. The school implemented a walk to school day for bus riders in the fall of 2013. Students were bused to a nearby Assisted Living Facility and teachers walked the students to school. A SHIP grant was awarded and is working with the school to further promote healthy initiatives.
Descriptive File:
LCWM Elementary School Wellness Committee, PTO, SRTS Committee
For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff) | lccity@hickorytech.net | 507-726-2538

Environmental Management Environmental Management

Sustainable Purchasing {BP no.15}

2 star - Action 1: Adopt a sustainable purchasing policy or administrative guidelines/practices directing that the city purchase at least:
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The city council of Lake Crystal established a purchasing policy for the purchase of Energy Star equipment and recycled paper at the September 23, 2013 meeting.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff) | lccity@hickorytech.net | 507-726-2538
1 star - Action 2: Purchase energy used by city government - via the municipal utility, green tags, community solar garden, 3rd party - with a higher renewable percentage than required by Minnesota law.
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The city purchases electricity from Heartland Consumer Power District and then distributes it as a municipal utility. In our contract with them it states that 15% of our electricity comes from renewable sources (primarily from wind turbines)
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff) | lccity@hickorytech.net | 507-726-2538

Stormwater Management {BP no.17}

1 star - Action 2: Complete a stormwater management assessment and be recognized for implementing the actions therein.
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Lake Crystal has registered for the Blue Star Award program and had completed its assessment as of January 1, 2014. Lake Crystal is now in the process of improving our practices to be awarded the Blue Star.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff) | lccity@hickorytech.net | 507-726-2538
1 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:
Implementation details:
The City partnered with the Crystal Waters Project to install a rain garden at City Hall during the annual Duck Days Event in June 2013. In addition to a community planting, a landscape designer educated community members about how to plant their own rain gardens. Another rain garden was installed during a Plant the Park event on September 22, 2014 at Robinson Park. The day long even included educational components and community members volunteered to plant the entire garden. City staff helped to clear and dig the site and provided mulch.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
Crystal Waters Project
For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff) | lccity@hickorytech.net | 507-726-2538

Surface Water {BP no.19}

2 star - Action 2: Conduct or support multi-party community conversations around improving local water quality and quantity.
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The Annual Duck Days event hosted by the Lake Crystal Area Chamber of Commerce included an educational event about rain gardens. One June 15, 2013, a rain garden was installed at City Hall as part of the Duck Days events by members of the Crystal Waters Project. A landscape architect was on hand to explain and demonstrate the process of planting a rain garden along with the benefits. The event was attended by the Mayor, a City Council member, youth, homeowners, environmentalists and others. An October 2014 Rake for the Lake event was held and the City accepted the equivalent of over 300 bags of leaves at the City compost site. A Plant the Park Concert was held at Robinson Park in September 2014 to promote lake water quality. The Crystal Waters Project cooperated with the City for an adopt a storm drain whereby residents agree to keep the storm drains clean.
Outcome measures/metrics:
The installation of the rain garden at City Hall will showcase the benefits of a rain garden. It will be used as an educational outreach tool for the community and anyone visiting City Hall. It will also reduce the amount of rainwater that flows directly into Lake Crystal's storm drains. At the Plant the Park Concert in 2014 over 100 people completed a survey to identify ways they are willing to take action. In 2015, the Crystal Waters Project hosted a meeting on floating islands and how they can be used to help improve water quality. 2017 a storm drain adoption program is in effect with over 70 storm drains adopted. A Rake for the Lake event is held every Fall.
Descriptive File:
Crystal Waters Project; Lake Crystal Area Chamber of Commerce
For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff) | lccity@hickorytech.net | 507-726-2538
1 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:
Implementation details:
Lake Crystal adopted a shoreland management ordinance in accordance with the DNR sample ordinance, in February 1992. This ordinance repealed an older shoreland management ordinance that was adopted in 1983.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff) | lccity@hickorytech.net | 507-726-2538
2 star - Action 5: Adopt goals to revegetate shoreland and create a local program or outreach effort to help property owners with revegetation.
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The Crystal Waters Project, together with the City of Lake Crystal established a lakeshore restoration plan for Robinson Park. This will be completed in two phases. The first phase is funded and will take place in May 2017. It will include over 2,000 square feet of lakeshore stabilization and native species plants along an abandoned beach. Phase two set for Fall 2017 will include another 6,000 square feet of native plants, and if funding is available, a path, educational signage, a pier and bathroom reconstruction. The LCWM School District students will participate in the planting events and garden maintenance.
Outcome measures/metrics:
$10,000 was funded for the project. Blazing Star Gardens was hired to manage the design, project, and maintenance training.
Descriptive File:
Crystal Waters Project, Lake Crystal Parks and Recreation Committee, and the City of Lake Crystal

Sustainable Consumption and Waste {BP no.22}

2 star - Action 5:

Arrange for a residential and/or business/institutional source-separated organics collection/management program.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial School District with approximately 1,000 students in two buildings implemented an organics recycling program to prevent food waste from entering the waste stream. Instead all organics are sent to Full Circle Organics for Composting. The City of Lake Crystal, joined together with North Mankato and Mankato to be part of a Zero Waste Composting program funded by a grant from the MPCA. Lake Crystal has over 37 households signed up for the free program.
Outcome measures/metrics:
To date, the household program estimates that 907 pounds of household waste has been collected. Averaging 113 pounds of waste per week. The program estimated 25 households would sign up within the first year and as of 2/22/17 there are 37 households.
A public outreach program includes participating in the 12/3/16 Christmas in Lake Crystal Craft Bazaar. Educational information was distributed and participants were able to sign up for the program. A 2/19 outreach event was held at the Presbyterian Church, and another one is set for 3/26/17 at Zion Lutheran Church. A presentation is also schedule for a Natural Resources class at LCWM on 2/22/17 which will include the composing program. Articles and photos of events were posted on social media and sent to the Lake Crystal Tribune. A 2/22/17 radio interview with KNUJ also highlighted the program, benefits, and information about signing up.
Descriptive File:
Mankato Zero Waste
For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff) | lccity@hickorytech.net | 507-726-2538
3 star - Action 6: Improve recycling services and expand to multi-unit housing and commercial businesses.
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The city has entered a contract, and mandates payment from residents for said contract, with Waste Management of Minnesota for collection of refuse and recycling. This mandate is enforced for all properties listed as "residential" which includes multi-unit apartment buildings. This contract and mandate does not have any opt-out option, residents are automatically billed for both refuse and recycling collection. This contract is enacted from 2012-2017, when it will be renewed. Along the lines of waste reduction, the city also has a compost collection site for lawn, tree (branches and sticks), and garden waste that is open from April through October.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff) | lccity@hickorytech.net | 507-726-2538

Local Air Quality {BP no.23}

1 star - Action 2:

Regulate outdoor wood burning, using ordinance language, performance standards and bans as appropriate, for at least one of the following:

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
The city ordinance 228, which was amended by ordinance 263, regulates outdoor wood burning within the city of Lake Crystal. The city explicitly prohibits open burning or use of burn barrels. The ordinances are attached for your reference.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff) | lccity@hickorytech.net | 507-726-2538

Resilient Economic & Community Development Resilient Economic and Community Development

Benchmarks and Community Engagement {BP no.24}

2 star - Action 1: Use a city commission, or committee to lead, coordinate, and report to and engage community members on implementation of sustainability best practices.
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
A committee has been formed that includes: the MN GreenCorps member (as long as she is serving the city), a city council member, the city administrator, a member from the Parks and Rec Commission, a member from the Planning Commission, and two other community members. The committee will publish an annual report on the city's GreenStep participation, and publish various newspaper articles throughout each year. The committee meets on a monthly basis to discuss GreenStep implementation progress and plan projects.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff) | lccity@hickorytech.net | 507-726-2538
2 star - Action 4: Conduct or support a broad sustainability education and action campaign involving:
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Throughout this year (2013-2014), our MN GreenCorps member has piloted many community education initiatives. Two programs directly involve students. One program has involved the 4th grade students in learning about, and participating in, a water conservation poster contest for MRWA. Another program is a 3 session after school program teaching elementary school students a variety of sustainable habits through experiments and creative activities focusing on energy and water conservation, and reusing resources. She has involved the community by hosting numerous booths at community events. She has hosted a booth publicizing energy and water conservation by handing out faucet aerators and fliers for energy conservation in the winter. She has also hosted a booth at a heath fair educating community members simple ways to change their behavior that will help reduce their environmental footprint and help improve their health. The city will decide which of these initiatives had the greatest impact and will continue those events in the future.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial ISD 2071; Lake Crystal Area Recreation Center
For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff) | lccity@hickorytech.net | 507-726-2538

Green Business Development {BP no.25}

1 star - Action 1:

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

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
On April 15, 2014 the Lake Crystal Economic Development Authority (EDA)passed an amendment to their current loan program to include specific 0% interest loans for energy efficiency improvements.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File: view file
Lake Crystal EDA
For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff) | lccity@hickorytech.net | 507-726-2538

Local Food {BP no.27}

Not rated - Action 3: Create, assist with and promote local food production/distribution within the city:
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Implementation details:
Lake Crystal hosts a farmer's market throughout the growing season, whenever the farmers would like to set up the market. The city allows the set up of the farmer's market for minimal cost to the farmers. The city has also begun a community garden with the school district, the students take care of the garden. The crops from the garden are donated to _____ food shelf. Lake Crystal is also home to the Welsh Heritage Orchard which has a retail store of locally produced apples, cheeses, bakery, and cider.
Outcome measures/metrics:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Taylor Gronau (City staff) | lccity@hickorytech.net | 507-726-2538