City Detail

Background Information

City of Rush City
County: Chisago
Population: 3094
GreenStep City category: B
Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.): 8
Participating township, county, school:

GreenStep Coordinator

Amy Mell
City Staff
320-358-4743
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: 11
1 star actions: 3
2 star actions: 7
3 star actions: 1

Buildings and Lighting Buildings and Lighting

Efficient Outdoor Lighting and Signals {BP no.4}

2 star - Action 5:

Use LED/solar-powered lighting for a flashing sign or in a street, parking lot or park project.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2012
Implementation details:
Rush City is working to increase the amount of LED powered lights throughout the city. In 2012, the City worked with the State of Minnesota to replace street lighting with improved energy efficient lighting on 4th St and County Road 30. In 2016, the City installed LED lighting on 5th St and is continuing to increase the amount of LED lighting throughout the city. East Central Energy (ECE) continually replaces failed fixtures with LED. Also, in 2012, the City worked with Chisago County to install a solar powered flashing speed limit sign at a high traffic location at County Road 30 and North Bremer Ave. There is also a plan and approved grant funding from the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) to install a solar-powered cross-walk sign at 4th St. and Fairfield Ave in 2020.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Rebates received from East Central Energy
Descriptive File:
State of Minnesota, Chisago County and East Central Energy
For more information contact:
Amy Mell (City Staff) | amell@ci.rush-city.mn.us | 320-358-4743

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: 1998
Implementation details:
Rush City repurposed an old school building into City Hall offices, Chisago County Sheriff Dept Contract Office, gymnastics facility and locker rooms and mechanical rooms for the pool. A portion of the old school was torn down and a pool built in that location.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
City Hall old facility was a split entry which would have required an elevator. With the repurposing, the City did not have to build brand new or install an elevator.
Descriptive File:
Rush City School District
For more information contact:
Amy Mell (City Staff) | amell@ci.rush-city.mn.us | 320-358-4743

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:
Year action initially completed: 2019
Implementation details:
In 2019, Rush City received a planning grant to create a Safe-Routes-To-School program. Through SRTS, our consultants and our committee, the City aims to identify and address gaps in infrastructure that exist. Our committee includes teachers, principals, city staff, county engineer, school resource officer, police officers, concerned parents, a Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) representative, and students. So far, the committee has held a workshop to assess how school pick up and drop off is conducted, walk the city streets and see what challenges exist, and collaborate together on possible solutions. We also led several surveying initiatives where parents, teachers, and students were asked to provide information on what some of the barriers of walking or biking to school are. Over the winter of 2019-2020 the plan will be developed by Alta Planning. In the spring of 2020, the plan will be shared with committee members and the committee will be expected to continue working together to use the plan to address the problems that are laid out.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Once the plan is developed in June of 2020. We hope that the committee can continue to address non-motor transportation issues and continue to collaborate with SRTS on different grants and initiatives that they lead in order to make walking and biking a safe possibility for students to use to get to school.
Descriptive File:
Rush City School District, SHIP, Chisago County and Chisago County Sheriff Office
For more information contact:
Amy Mell (City Staff) | amell@ci.rush-city.mn.us | 320-358-4743

Environmental Management Environmental Management

Stormwater Management {BP no.17}

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:
Year action initially completed: 2010
Implementation details:
Rush City does not require new developments to have rain gardens, but storm sewer holding ponds have been created to help treat rain water and minimize runoff into Rush Creek. In 2010, the City worked with the Soil & Water Conservation District to install six rain gardens during a street construction project on 7th St Circle and 7th St. Court. In the future, street construction projects will continue to install rain gardens where feasible.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Soil & Water Conservation District
For more information contact:
Amy Mell (City Staff) | amell@ci.rush-city.mn.us | 320-358-4743

Parks and Trails {BP no.18}

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: 2010
Implementation details:
Rush City's subdivision code (Chapter 11-Sec 1.1.04, Subdivision 21)requires dedication of land or cash in-lieu-of for parks. The amount of land dedication or funds varies depending on the Zoning classification. Rush City plans to include the installation of new sidewalks in any new subdivision. Rush City's Comprehensive Plan, Chapter 10-Parks, Trails & Recreation also details planned park improvements and trail upgrades. The City has a Park Board which meets regularly and recommends new park improvements for council consideration.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Approximately 6,000 feet of trail has been installed in the past 10 years. The most recent was 2,300 feet along County Road 39 in the summer of 2019 (installed by Chisago County). City requires dedicated parkland in new developments. In 2018, new neighborhood play structures were built in two new developments.
Descriptive File:
Chisago County, Lions, community members from Ardent Mills donated labor
For more information contact:
Sue Hochstatter (City Staff) | shochstatter@ci.rush-city.mn.us | 320-358-4743

Efficient Water and Wastewater Systems {BP no.20}

3 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: 2011
Implementation details:
In 2009, Rush City implemented an ordinance (attached) requiring the inspection of private sewer lines. Sewer inspections are mandatory at the time of property transfer and/or street constructions. The City provides private sewer line inspections for a reduced fee to homeowners to help residents meet the inspection requirement. Property owners that would rather use an alternative inspector have the option to do so, but must provide materials that prove inspection was completed by a certified plumber or inspector. If the inspection results in a sewer line in satisfactory condition, no further action is required from the homeowner. After 10 years, it has to be reinspected. If the inspection finds that the sewer line is in need of repair because of cracks and other sources of I & I, the homeowner must have the line repaired within six months. The City helps facilitate repairs by offering a loan program to help manage the costs of repairs. A penalty is added to the utility bill if repair is not completed within six months. The program also includes inspections of household/business roof drains , foundation drains, sump pump connections, drain tile, lateral service lines, and/or inspections of city-owned sewer lines.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
As of April 15, 2020 -
484 Applications for inspections have been submitted (that’s over half of the properties in the City)
463 Sewer laterals have been inspected
82 Sewer laterals have failed and been fixed (most had roots in the pipe, which means that there are cracks so ground water can get into the City’s sewer system)
27 sump pumps/foundation drains have been disconnected from the City sewer and re-routed
3 roof drains have been disconnected from the City sewer and re-routed to the storm sewer
4 laterals have failed and not been fixed yet
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Amy Mell (City Staff) | amell@ci.rush-city.mn.us | 320-358-4743

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:
Year action initially completed: 2019
Implementation details:
Rush City has had a GreenStep Team in place since November 2019. It meets on a monthly to bi-monthly schedule to work on issues of sustainability. As we continue to grow we will work on ways to communicate and engage citizens. A goal is to expand to include more community members and school district employees and students. The GreenStep Team submits regular updates to the City's Dateline quarterly newsletter and posts updates on a Facebook page. The team is working toward achieving new MN GreenStep Cities' best practices and plan to update the Council on a regular basis.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Amy Mell (City Staff) | amell@ci.rush-city.mn.us | 320-358-4743
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:
Year action initially completed: 2020
Implementation details:
The City GreenStep team held several gatherings for the public in early 2020. The first one centered around the plastic problem with a video and discussion. The second was on water with a similar format and attendance by members of the public and Mayor. Other gatherings have been planned including special earth day programming and a future expo both of which have been postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Specialists and experts were contacted to participate in these gatherings and we met with the school superintendent to get school involvement. The local Lions Club donated funds. These efforts will continue when circumstances permit.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Lions Club
For more information contact:
Amy Mell (City Staff) | amell@ci.rush-city.mn.us | 320-358-4743

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: 2018
Implementation details:
Rush City has land in the industrial park which has been donated for community garden use. The City is the fiscal agent for the garden and there is a volunteer coordinator. The City received grant and donation dollars for this project. Community members can rent a small plot of land which they are responsible to plant and tend throughout the growing season. There are 30- 8x20 plots and eight raised beds which cost $15 and $10 respectively. There is access to water and tools and a picnic shelter was constructed as part of a local Eagle Scout project. The plots are highly sought after.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Extra produce has been donated to the local Food Shelf. Community members in apartments have the opportunity to grow their own produce.
Descriptive File:
Rush City Lions Club, Dennis Franzen, Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP), Boy Scouts, Master Gardeners
For more information contact:
Sue Hochstatter (City Staff) | shochstatter@ci.rush-city.mn.us | 320-358-4743

Climate Adaptation and Community Resilience {BP no.29}

2 star - Action 1:

Prepare to maintain public health and safety during extreme weather and climate-change-related events, while also taking a preventive approach to reduce risk for community members.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2015
Implementation details:
Rush City utilizes the Chisago County Hazard Mitigation Plan to ensure the safety of all community members during severe storms, fires, flooding, etc. The plan is headed by the County Emergency Management Director, and is implemented in Rush City by the appropriate agencies for each hazard, such as the Fire Dept. and DNR. The Plan focuses heavily on education and outreach to all citizens. Rush City uses the CodeRED service and social media such as Facebook to inform, alert and educate community on all safety concerns. CodeRED is a free community notification system that keeps citizens informed of emergency notifications, general community notifications, and severe weather warnings. Citizens can sign up to receive free texts alerts. The Plan provides guidelines for dealing with present and future hazards. More specific steps are outlined in the county Emergency Response Plan, Watershed Plan, County Water Management Plan and Zoning ordinances. The finished plan depicts a unified and continuous effort and commitment by many people in Chisago County, all participating jurisdictions, as well as Minnesota Homeland Security Emergency Management.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Chisago County
For more information contact:
Amy Mell (City Staff) | amell@ci.rush-city.mn.us | 320-358-4743
1 star - Action 7:

Protect water supply and wastewater treatment facilities to reduce physical damage and sustain their function during extreme weather events.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2019
Implementation details:
Rush City Public Works uses software to create alarms for different areas and alerts. Alarms go off for pumps not working, high/low water levels, and other risk factors that could damage the equipment. The City upgraded and expanded the system in 2019 to include all lift stations.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Amy Mell (City Staff) | amell@ci.rush-city.mn.us | 320-358-4743