City Detail

Background Information

City of Saint James
County: Watonwan
Population: 4793
GreenStep City category: B
Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.): 39
Participating township, county, school:

GreenStep Coordinator

Brianna Sanders
City Staff
507-375-3241
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: 12
1 star actions: 5
2 star actions: 3
3 star actions: 4

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: 2012
Implementation details:
St. James Public Utilities partners with Missouri River Energy Services to provide rebates for lighting, heating and cooling, etc. through the Bright Energy Solutions program. St. James Public Utilities also has a load management credit program for both central air conditioning and for electric water meters.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Brianna Sanders (City Staff) | brianna.sanders@ci.stjames.mn.us | 507-375-1289

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: 2022
Implementation details:
As part of the 2022 SRTS Infrastructure Project, the City of St. James installed a solar powered Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacon on the intersection of 10th Ave N and 10th St N.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Brianna Sanders (City Staff) | brianna.sanders@ci.stjames.mn.us | 507-375-1289

Land Use Land Use

Resilient City Growth {BP no.7}

3 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: 2000
Implementation details:
Saint James allows for zero lot line setbacks in the General Business District (B-3) in city code § 156.134.

Sharpline Corporation in St. James has space for small, emerging businesses to be located in their building as part of their Business Incubator initiative. Edward Jones and Wilcon Construction Inc. share office space in their building at 101 7th Ave S.

St. James Downtown has between eight and nine storefronts on the southside of First Ave S. between Fifth St S and Armstrong Blvd S and between Armstrong Blvd S and Seventh St S. Downtown averages 295 feet per block.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Brianna Sanders (City Staff) | brianna.sanders@ci.stjames.mn.us | 507-375-1289

Mixed Uses {BP no.8}

2 star - Action 5:

Have a downtown zoning district that emphasizes small and destination business, entrepreneurial spaces, and allows or requires residential and residential-compatible commercial development.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2009
Implementation details:
Downtown zoning districts, including B-2 (Service Business District) and B-3 (General Business District), allow for residential development above the ground floor, with approval of a Special Use Permit. The ground floors are used for business and commercial uses and allows for the space above and below the main level to be used for residential use.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Brianna Sanders (City Staff) | brianna.sanders@ci.stjames.mn.us | 507-375-1289

Transportation Transportation

Living & Complete Streets {BP no.11}

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: 2018
Implementation details:
The City of Saint James implemented traffic calming measures in Downtown St. James by installing two roundabouts on First Ave South.

The City of Saint James also implemented traffic calming measures in the 2022 Safe Routes to School Infrastructure Project by installing curb bump-outs on 10th Ave North in front of the St. James High School.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Brianna Sanders (City Staff) | brianna.sanders@ci.stjames.mn.us | 507-375-1289

Mobility Options {BP no.12}

1 star - Action 2:

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

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2016
Implementation details:
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a national program which assists communities and school districts in enabling and encouraging children to walk and bike to school. The program assists in planning, development, and implementation of goals to improve safety and health, while reducing traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution near schools.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
We identified strategies to engineer, educate, encourage, enforce, and evaluate our plan going forward.
Descriptive File: view file
St. James Public Schools, Region 9, MNDOT
For more information contact:
Sam Hansen (City staff) | Sam.Hansen@ci.stjames.mn.us | 507-375-5090
1 star - Action 3:

Prominently promote mobility options: public transit; paratransit/Dial-A-Ride; cab services; rental cars; bike lanes; trails; airports.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2018
Implementation details:
The Discover Saint James website contains contact information and website links to the various transportation options in the community. The Discover Saint James website is ran by the Saint James Chamber of Commerce and the Saint James Economic Development Authority.

The City of St. James website provides a link to Discover St. James.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The outcome is that anyone looking to move to town or look to see what amenities we have in town have access to this information.
Descriptive File:
City of St. James, Watonwan County
For more information contact:
Sam Hansen (City staff) | Sam.Hansen@ci.stjames.mn.us | 507-375-5090

Environmental Management Environmental Management

Sustainable Purchasing {BP no.15}

3 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:
Year action initially completed: 2019
Implementation details:
The City of St. James receives its power from St. James Public Utility. Currently 9% of our electricity comes from wind resources and 63% is supplied by hydropower. Overall, renewable energy supplies 72% of total purchases by the City of St. James, 78% of the total power is carbon-free.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Sam Hansen (City staff) | Sam.Hansen@ci.stjames.mn.us | 507-375-5090
1 star - Action 7:

Lower the environmental footprint of meetings and events in the city.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2021
Implementation details:
The Saint James City Council and City Manager have adopted a paperless meeting practice by receiving their agenda and packet electronically and viewing it by a laptop supplied by the City
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Brianna Sanders (City Staff) | brianna.sanders@ci.stjames.mn.us | 507-375-1289

Sustainable Consumption and Waste {BP no.22}

3 star - Action 7:

Improve/organize residential trash, recycling and organics collection by private and/or public operations and offer significant volume-based pricing on residential garbage and/or incentives for recycling.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2019
Implementation details:
The City of St. James just accepted a contract with West Central Sanitation to pick up solid waste for its residents. Residents can choose from different sized carts for their garbage pick up. West Central only uses trucks that use natural gas, making it much quieter and greener.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
The City of St. James partners with West Central Sanitation to ensure that every household in the city has garbage pick up. West Central provides the carts and they also do the billing.
Descriptive File: view file
West Central Sanitation
For more information contact:
Sam Hansen (City staff) | Sam.Hansen@ci.stjames.mn.us | 507-375-5090

Local Air Quality {BP no.23}

1 star - Action 2:

Reduce residential burning of wood and yard waste and eliminate ‘backyard’ trash burning.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: N/A
Implementation details:
Fire Pits/Recreational Fires - City of St. James Ordinance 10.25
Fire Pits/Recreational fires not permitted in the front yard setback area
Fire Pits/recreational fires maximum size is 3' in diameter and 3' high
Only sticks, twigs, and unsawn materials may be burned in fire pits in the City(no garbage, leaves, treated lumber, etc.)
Keep fires at least 25' away from any structure
Burning of Leaves - City of St. James Ordinance 10.26
Burning permit required
Burning permits available during the month of May and from October 15- December 1
Prohibited on City streets, boulevards, lake shores or any public property
25' setback from any structure, wood fence, hedge or bush and no less than 5' from any property line
Burning allowed between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Burning trash, rubbish, or other materials is strictly prohibited
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Sam Hansen (City staff) | Sam.Hansen@ci.stjames.mn.us | 507-375-5090

Resilient Economic & Community Development Resilient Economic and Community Development

Local Food {BP no.27}

3 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 St. James Chamber of Commerce runs a farmers market once a week during the months of May to October. The St. James Farmers Market operates at the Downtown Park owned by the City of St. James. The St. James Public Schools (ISD 840) has a greenhouse and school garden. There is a community garden that is City-owned and the City provides water irrigation for the plots.

There are four grocery stores, two community gardens, and one farmers market located within the city limits of Saint James.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Approximately 1,850 households out of 1,859 households, or 99% of households, in the city limits of St. James are within a 1 mile radius of the St. James Farmers Market.
Descriptive File:
St. James Chamber of Commerce, St. James Public Schools
For more information contact:
Brianna Sanders (City Staff) | brianna.sanders@ci.stjames.mn.us | 507-375-1289