City Detail

Background Information

City of Sauk Rapids
County: Benton
Population: 12796
GreenStep City category: B
Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.): 38
Participating township, county, school:

GreenStep Coordinator

Todd Schultz
City Staff
320-258-5315
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: 24
1 star actions: 11
2 star actions: 9
3 star actions: 2

Buildings and Lighting Buildings and Lighting

Efficient Existing Public Buildings {BP no.1}

Not rated - 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:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Baseline data for the City’s municipal liquor store has been entered for the past three years into the B3 benchmarking database.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300
1 star - Action 3:

Invest in larger energy efficiency projects through performance contracting or other funding or through smaller retro-commissioning/retrofit projects in city-owned/school buildings.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The liquor store was retrofitted with a high efficiency furnace and air conditioner and LED lighting in the refrigerator doors.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300
1 star - Action 5:

Document that the new construction or major remodeling of a public building has met the SB 2030 energy standard or has met or qualified under a green building or energy framework.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City participated in an energy design assistance process with Xcel Energy during the design process for its new city government center constructed in 2011/2012. The City chose and implemented the maximum bundle option, which included energy efficient strategies for envelope insulation, window glazing, daylighting control, and HVAC efficiency, among others. For a $77,954 investment, the City is projected to save about $14,097 on its annual energy bills, providing a return on investment of 5.5 years. When practical, the City selected green options for its new building construction.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300

Efficient Existing Private Buildings {BP no.2}

1 star - Action 5:

Conserve/protect drinking/groundwater resources by creating a water-wise landscaping ordinance/guidance, WaterSense purchasing program, or guidance on rainwater harvesting and home water softener use.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City adopted a Water Emergency and Conservation Plan in 2006 which requires that lawn watering can only occur on either odd or even days. As a result, less wastewater is sent to the St. Cloud Treatment Facility.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300

Efficient Outdoor Lighting and Signals {BP no.4}

3 star - Action 1:

Require energy efficient, Dark-Sky compliant new or replacement outdoor lighting fixtures on city-owned/private buildings and facilities.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
In 2007 the City reconstructed its main street through its downtown. This improvement included decorative lights which are dark sky compliant. City ordinance also requires all new private parking lot lights to be of the same or similar design to the City lights, meaning that all new private parking lot lighting is also dark sky compliant.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300
2 star - Action 4:

Coordinate traffic signals and/or optimize signal timing so as minimize car idling at intersections yet maintain safe and publicly acceptable vehicle speeds.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The traffic lights in the city have been coordinated to minimize car idling.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300
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:
Implementation details:
A recent street improvement project on Benton Drive used LED lighting.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300
1 star - Action 6:

Relamp/improve exterior building lighting for city-owned buildings/facilities with energy efficient, Dark-Sky compliant lighting.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City replaced a box light in the fire station parking lot with a Dark-Sky compliant light.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300
3 star - Action 8:

Replace the city's existing traffic signals with LEDs.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
All traffic signals in the City now use LED lighting.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300

Building Redevelopment {BP no.5}

2 star - Action 5:

Adopt development/design standards and programs that facilitate infill, redevelopment, and adaptable buildings.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
An architectural committee developed standards for infill development to maintain the architectural and traditional character of existing neighborhoods. The City’s Housing Advisory Committee reviews plans for conformity. The City’s Downtown Business District ordinance includes design and development standards to facilitate new development and redevelopment.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300

Land Use Land Use

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

1 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:
Implementation details:
The City updated its comprehensive plan in 2005.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300
2 star - Action 2:

Demonstrate that regulatory ordinances comply with the comprehensive plan including but not limited to having the zoning ordinance explicitly reference the comprehensive plan as the foundational document for decision making.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
Reference to the comprehensive plan is made within the City’s zoning ordinance, specifically in the Downtown Business District, the Planned Unit Development District, and the Environmentally Sensitive Area Overlay District. The purpose section of the zoning ordinance notes that the zoning regulations are intended to be consistent with and compliment other municipal controls, such as comprehensive plans.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300
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:
Implementation details:
Chapter 9 of the City’s 2005 Comprehensive Plan addresses the environment. This chapter includes a strategy to “create natural corridors that link environmentally sensitive areas, habitat, streams and river, trails, institutions, parkland and neighborhoods” with the goal to “protect, conserve and enhance natural resources and environmental features within the city and its planned growth areas for the community’s long-term environmental and economic benefits.”
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300

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:
Implementation details:
The City has established design and performance standards for its Golden Spike commercial corridor with its C-3 highway commercial district ordinance. In addition, the City's Comprehensive Plan also identifies design standards for the Golden Spike corridor as well as the 2nd Street North and the County Road 29 corridors.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300
2 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:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
The City is an investor in the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation, which is a regional economic development organization representing Sherburne, Stearns, and Benton Counties, as well as the cities within those counties that choose to participate. The Corporation is involved in many economic development activities including economic development planning. The City also has joint planning boards with Sauk Rapids and Minden Townships that address economic development planning. The City is also a member of the St. Cloud Area Joint Cities Committee, which addresses regional economic development planning.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300

Transportation Transportation

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:
Implementation details:
The city has added two bike racks in front of businesses that draw regular customers, a restaurant (Old Capital Tavern) and a coffeehouse (Rock Creek Coffeehouse).
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300
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:
Implementation details:
The city was awarded a SRTS grant in 2013 to complete and connect sidewalks in and around Pleasantview Elementary School. The city contributed $100,000 to complete the project. This school is located in a neighborhood where many children walk to school. Concerned parents were involved in the planning process meetings. The sidewalk addition improved pedestrian safety. The city plans to submit another SRTS grant for next year's funding.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300

Environmental Management Environmental Management

Sustainable Purchasing {BP no.15}

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:
Implementation details:
The city council now uses iPads for meetings instead of receiving paper packets. Staff no longer gets full paper packets.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300

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:
Implementation details:
When the new bridge was constructed in the city and Benton Drive (main street) was improved through the downtown section, trees were planted along the street and in the medians as recommended by a landscape architect. Trees were planted from 1st Street S to 8th Street N, with the heaviest concentration from 1st Street S to 3rd Street N., which is the central downtown area. Trees were planted on some side streets in this area for one block off Benton.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300

Stormwater Management {BP no.17}

2 star - Action 4:

Create a stormwater utility that uses variable fees to incentivize stormwater infiltration, minimize the volume of and pollutants in runoff, and educate property owners.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
A stormwater utility was created in 2006 with variable fees. From utility code: The city engineer shall, pursuant to the rules provided for herein, grant a credit to those owners or non-owner users of properties, against which stormwater charges are imposed, who employ structural or non-structural BMPs or other stormwater management practices on-site that significantly reduce the quantity or improve the quality of stormwater runoff from their property that enters the system.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300

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:
Implementation details:
SR Green is an independent advisory committee on conservation and the environment for the City of Sauk Rapids. The committee usually met once a month starting in 2008 and through November 2015. The committee is now meeting on an as needed basis. The committee has included articles in the city newsletter on community gardens, the GreenStep Cities step two recognition block award, and weekly bike rides in the community. A link to the GreenStep Cities website is available on the city's Community Development page.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300
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:
Implementation details:
SR Green has offered support to the green committees at the high school and middle school. An SR Green member has served as liaison between the schools and committee for many years. The middle school has been recognized for creating a school garden, which continues to expand and serve the school.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300

Local Food {BP no.27}

1 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:
Implementation details:
The Sauk Rapids Farmers Market was started over three years ago by a citizens group. The market is held in the VFW parking lot along Benton Drive, a main street in the community leading to our downtown area. The Sauk Rapids-Rice High School plans to start a school garden and has funding set aside for it. SR Green, a citizens advisory group, continues to discuss and explore the options for establishing a community garden location.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
Sauk Rapids-Rice School District
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300

Climate Adaptation and Community Resilience {BP no.29}

Not rated - Action 2:

Integrate climate resilience into city or tribal planning, policy, operations, and budgeting processes.

Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
All city department heads have taken NIMS (National Incident Management System) training for disaster preparation.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Marilyn Patterson (Community volunteer) | mpp03@charter.net | 320-258-5300