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    City of Grand Marais  


Background Information

County:   Cook
Population:   1,344
GreenStep City category:   B

Full-time equivalent city staff (approx.):   21

Participating township, county, school:


GreenStep City resolution:   Click here to view the file.
GreenStep City status and date:   STEP 2 (06/15/2016)

GreenStep Coordinator

Shane Steele
Contractor
shane.w.steele@gmail.com
507-884-5790

City web page relating to sustainability/GreenStep activities:
http://www.ci.grand-marais.mn.us/

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 Files below summarize completed city actions in a short Word file. Step 4 recognition is awarded each June to cities who report a minimum number of optional (and a few high-priority/core) metrics for the previous calendar year. These metrics - see guidance documents for them at http://www.betterenergy.org/step4 - aim to show the aggregate, quantitative results of taking multiple GreenStep actions. Step 5 cities show improvement beyond minimum thresholds in the Step 4 metrics. See yearly data in the Metrics Files below.

Assessment Files
2017 - click to view assessment

 


Best Practice Actions Underway and Completed

Completed actions are denoted by stars. Mouse over a star for its definition.
Total completed actions: 30     1-star actions: 11     2-star actions: 13     3-star actions: 6    







Buildings and Lighting   Buildings and Lighting

Efficient Existing Public Buildings
{ BP no. 1 }

Implement changes in one poorer-performing building and summarize the actions taken: updating temperature, ventilation and lighting schedules and setbacks; installing building-wide computer and office equipment power management software; assigning responsibility for turning off manual lights and other shared equipment; assuring that routine HVAC maintenance schedules are thorough and implemented at appropriate intervals; revising janitorial schedules to day-time hours; adjusting janitorial responsibilities to include regular cleaning of sensors, lamps and HVAC vents; installing lower-flow faucet aerators, dish sprayers, and showerheads to reduce hot water use.
Complete 1 Star criterion for two buildings. Post the Print Screen of the Baseline tab for one of the buildings with the Energy gauge showing at least a 5% decrease in energy use compared to the baseline period [12 months immediately prior to implementing changes]. Continue fine-tuning operations and maintenance procedures and monitoring energy usage to identify opportunities for additional savings.
Complete 1 and 2 Star criteria for two buildings. Use B3 to report at least a 10% decrease in energy use compared to the baseline period.
Action 2: Make no/low cost indoor lighting and operational changes in city-owned/school buildings to reduce energy costs.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Efficient Existing Private Buildings
{ BP no. 2 }

Program activities include but are not limited to: information/education efforts via newsletters and the like; work with the local utility, local Community Action Program, local bank, or others; promote utility load management programs (fuel-switching, AC/water heater cycling); program participation reports. Report a rebate program to promote purchases of WaterSense-rated appliances under action 2.5; report work with businesses under action 25.2; report broad sustainability campaigns that go beyond energy efficiency under action 24.4
One or more of: provide more in-depth energy use reports; explicitly focus on improved indoor air quality; partner with others on low-interest loans, assistance to homeowners on weatherization, efficiency improvements; resident participation in the National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation.
Participate in Xcel's Partners in Energy program; create a city program and report on number of households participating (e.g. took advantage of rebates, loans, grants, attended workshops, received home energy audit) and dollars or BTUs or therms saved.
Action 1: Create or participate in a marketing/outreach program to promote/achieve residential energy/water use reduction and energy efficiency.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Identify examples including building lighting upgrades (including exit lights, lighting equipment and controls), and other building/operational improvements in energy and water use and wastewater reduction. Report renewable energy installations under action 26.6
Identify businesses using a green building framework such as LEED to build, operate and maintain their buildings and operations, or businesses currently using Energy Star's Portfolio Manager or similar energy-tracking software.
Identify examples of extensive daylighting or electrochromic window glass and consequent energy/cost savings, installation of a greywater system, or similar innovative improvements.
Action 4: Describe energy/water efficiency outcomes and other green building practices at businesses located within/nearby the city.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Efficient Outdoor Lighting and Signals
{ BP no. 4 }

Summarize the policy or practice for fixtures on city-owned, or school or other governmental buildings.
Summarize policies for fixtures adopted by the city and at least one other entity (the school board, another governmental unit within the city). Aim to limit light trespass to under 1 candle foot at the property line or center of a city street.
Requirements (within State code) for private buildings, OR: installation on public facilities of photosensors on all outdoor light fixtures; installation of timers with seasonal schedules to control when lights turn on and off; score under 4 in the Bortle Dark-Sky Scale.
Action 1: Require energy efficient, Dark-Sky compliant new or replacement outdoor lighting fixtures on city-owned/private buildings and facilities.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Building Redevelopment
{ BP no. 5 }

Describe the expansion/reuse of a school building.
Describe city actions that assisted in the expansion/reuse of a big-box building into uses other than large-format retail.
The expansion/reuse of a school or big-box was done with explicit attention to green building practices and/or to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Historic Rehabilitation.
Action 3: Plan for reuse of large-format retail buildings, or work with a local school to either add-on space or repurpose space into non-school uses.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Land Use   Land Use

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

pending pending Star rating not yet assigned to city Action 1: Adopt a comprehensive plan or (for Category B & C cities) adopt a land use plan that was adopted by the county or a regional entity.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Specify numeric targets (reductions in energy usage, GHG emissions) and target dates for at least city operations (for example, Massachusetts challenges cities to reduce energy use 20% within 5 years); adopt infrastructure resiliency goals; include EV charging stations as a permitted accessory use in select or all zoning districts. Report stand-alone sustainability plans under action 24.5; report stand-alone climate adaptation/resilience plans under action 29.2
Become an EV-ready city, address climate protection in the private sector by, for example, establishing policies with numerical targets to reduce vehicle miles traveled, or setting a percentage renewable energy generation target for the entire city, such as a "25 by 25" goal (generating 25% of a city's electricity, heating and/or transportation fuels from renewable resources by 2025).
Adopt an agressive goal, such as the Rochester, MN mayoral goal of carbon-free by 2031; adopt social resiliency goals around education (STEM curriculum), population mix (retention of millennials, racial/income diversity).
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.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Resilient City Growth
{ BP no. 7 }

Document the existence of a district meeting the FAR standard and/or zero-lot line.
Achieve 1 Star rating AND: locate the higher intensity district near higher density housing; have at least one co-working office space in your city.
The number of retail entrances per 330 feet in a downtown retail district ranges between 8 and 13; employment density of 25+ jobs/acre in compact areas; a maximum block perimeter of 2000' in a downtown zoning district.
Action 3: Achieve higher intensity commercial/industrial land uses through at least one of the following strategies:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. Include in the city zoning ordinance and zoning map a commercial district with reduced lot sizes and zero-lot-line setbacks, or a FAR minimum of 1.

b. Set targets for the minimum number of employees/acre in different commercial zones.


Mixed Uses
{ BP no. 8 }

Describe to what degree the district used the Minnesota Model Ordinances for Sustainable Development.
Existence of horizontal mixed use; a downtown overlay district; light industrial uses.
Allow mixed use of office, retail, educational, civic, and residential units all located within the same building.
Action 5: Have a downtown zoning district that allows residential and compatible commercial development.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Transportation   Transportation

Living Streets
{ BP no. 11 }

A city council resolution to develop standards; a policy governing city-owned streets; routine consideration of complete streets elements in all streets projects; explicit complete streets comp/strategic plan direction, that expresses the city's intent to facilitate multi-modal transportation (at least one route for each mode); include consideration of EV charging stations.
A city-council-adopted complete streets policy and implementation criteria.
A Living Streets policy; modify street design standards/practices according to policy, addressing multimodal transportation, trees and stormwater; include provisions/performance measures that account for the needs of the most vulnerable users, aiming to deliver benefits to all users equitably, particularly vulnerable users and the most underinvested and underserved communities; possible additional elements include align new streets to give buildings energy-efficient passive solar orientations; address public art in the street right-of-way; use a sustainable infrastructure tool; give consideration to growing use of ridesharing services and shared autonomous vehicles (SAVs) by, for example, planning for more drop-off road sections.
Action 1: Adopt a complete streets policy or a living streets policy, which addresses landscaping and stormwater.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Measures such as streetscaping, bump-outs, raised cross walks, intersection markings, medians and narrower lane widths. Report temporary or permanent parklet installations under action 14.1
Measures such as roundabouts, and road diets where 3 lanes replace 4 lanes of a road with under 20,000 average annual daily traffic counts; adopt a traffic calming policy.
Measures from street reclaiming, naked streets, shared space, woonerfs, and Paint the Pavement approaches; diverging diamond interchange, J-turn lane, reverse diagonal parking; a multi-modal Level of Service metric developed and applied to road projects; conversion of underused/redundant roads to gravel roads, stormwater management, energy generation, etc.
Action 6: Implement traffic calming policy/measures, including road diets, roundabouts, shared space and depaving, in at least one street redevelopment project.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Mobility Options
{ BP no. 12 }

A basic map that shows (by neighborhood if a larger city) key civic/commercial sites, best bike and pedestrian routes, and transit routes and schedules; as needed distribute print materials in different languages; report increases in walk/bike counts.
Installed infrastructure such as designed bike or pedestrian or transit facilities like park and ride lots (report sidewalks/bike lanes under action 11.4), OR document the increase in employeer-offered transportation fringe benefits, OR report a Walk Score of 70+ or an increase in your city's Walk Score.
Be recognized as a Bicycle or Walk Friendly Community, OR require routine installation of infrastructure, such as bike parking, for all new multifamily and non-residential developments, OR allow property owners to substitute bike parking spaces for required car parking spaces.
Action 1: Increase walking, biking and transit use by one or more of the following means:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. Produce/distribute route maps, signage or a web site.

b. Document increased bike facilities, such as racks, bike stations or showers.

c. Add bus infrastructure, such as signage, benches, shelters, park and ride lots, and real-time arrival data-streaming.

d. Increase the number of employers promoting multiple commuting options, including offering qualified transportation fringe benefits instead of only a tax-free parking fringe benefit.

e. Be recognized as a Walk Friendly or Bicycle Friendly Community.


Add or expand transit in your city or between your city and other destinations, working with other units of local governments as needed.
Add/expand Saturday or Sunday bus service; add dial-a-ride to regular service; assist in the creation of or promote the existance of a car sharing business or bike sharing business/service; embed a transit station/stop in a transit-oriented/mixed-use district. Report supportive changes in parking requirements under action 14.1
Bike-sharing/scooter-sharing in a small city; schedule transit service for at least every 30 minutes during peak hours so that 75% of city addresses are within 1/2 mile of a transit stop; incorporate payment for both local transit and ride-shares (and connections between the two) on a single smartphone app.
Action 6: Add/expand transit service, or promote car/bike sharing.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Environmental Management   Environmental Management

Stormwater Management
{ BP no. 17 }

Install, require and/or provide guidelines for raingardens, rain barrels, parking lots (salt use reduction/alternatives, French drains, etc.) or pervious pavement at sites where the practice was not implemented to satisfy a requirement in an NPDES/SDS MS4 and/or Construction Stormwater permit or Industrial Stormwater permit; report that all city staff are developing guidelines that use the updated precipitation data in Atlas 14 or better, future predicted precipitation; note required use of compost as a soil amendment.
Install, require, incentivize and/or provide guidelines for green roofs, cisterns, neighborhood water storage, rainwater harvesting to supplant irrigation with drinking water, and other stormwater reuse. Report storage and reuse of stormwater for golf course/parkland irrigation under best practice action 18.5c.
Have an ongoing retrofit program to reduce pollutant loads and stormwater volume from existing neighborhoods that requires one or more of the stormwater practices in this action; aim for zero stormwater discharge in a development project.
Action 5: Adopt and implement guidelines or design standards/incentives for at least one of the following stormwater infiltration/reuse practices:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. Rain gardens/infiltration practices.

b. Rainwater harvesting practices.

c. Green alleys or green parking lots.

d. Pervious/permeable pavement or pavers.

e. Green roofs / green walls.

f. Tree trenches / tree boxes.

g. Incorporate compost and/or native plants into landscape design.


Parks and Trails
{ BP no. 18 }

Remedy at least one connectivity break by, for example, completing a missing trail section, acquiring a high quality natural area, a priority stormwater management area, vacant space in a high amenity/redevelopment area, a rail corridor. Report remedies for street-to-trail gaps (between city streets and off-road trails/bike trails) under best practice action 11.5.
Remedy at least 3 connectivity breaks; fund trails out of adjacent street assessments; sign at least one shared use agreement with a school that allows public use of school outdoor facilities outside of school hours.
Remedy/plan/budget for 75% or more of the gaps; add a walking/biking trail that connects your city to a key destination/area/trail outside the city.
Action 1: Make improvements within your city's system of parks, offroad trails and open spaces.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Adopt a Parks/Trail plan; have in the city's subdivision chapter code language requiring dedication of open spaces, parks, and drainage easements or, in lieu of that, cash with each new subdivision. Report conservation design to create wildlife corridors under action 10.1
Dedication required for new developments over 1 acre; create and adopt a conceptual parks and green connections plan for greenfield areas having or planned to have urban services or redevelopment areas; integrate into existing Park/Open Space/Trail Plan if one is in place.
Achieve 2 star rating AND require demonstration of bike/ped trail connections for all new housing to existing trail network as part of the subdivision submittal.
Action 2: Plan and budget for a network of parks, green spaces, water features and trails for areas where new development is planned.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Surface Water
{ BP no. 19 }

A high-level elected city official or city staff person participates in at least 1 community event that includes a variety of stakeholders (farmers, other business people, environmentalists, recreation users, and other government staff, one of whom has scientific expertise). The conversation should be outside the TMDL process and include more than just impaired waters. Report an adopted wellhead protection plan under action 6.3
The city cosponsors at least 4 water quality conversations that explicitly focus on significant water quality improvement.
The conversations are intentionally facilitated/mediated to influence changes in public/private actions that are likely to improve local water quality, quantity and surface-groundwater interactions; residents work with city to determine specific projects within a city-established Storm Sewer Improvement Taxing District.
Action 2: Conduct or support multi-party community conversations around improving local water quality and quantity.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Have a shoreland ordinance approved by the DNR or one consistent with state-wide shoreland standards (MR 6120.2500-06120.3900).
Adopt the Alternative Shoreland Standards or similar alternatives reviewed and consistent with recommendations of the DNR Area hydrologist that exceed the minimum standards of the DNR shoreland rules.
Document 60-75% forested shoreland; achieve 2 Star rating and include one or both of: (1) a menu of mitigation measures, one or more of which to be attached to shoreland variances; (2) provisions for restoration of shore impact area and vegetative buffer with permanent protection for all new shoreland development.
Action 4: Adopt a shoreland ordinance for all river and lake shoreland areas.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Sustainable Consumption and Waste
{ BP no. 22 }

Identify and provide city economic development support to relevant businesses; promote events such as fix-it clinics; encourage community members to shop at and donate to such businesses; post the CoolClimate household-level consumption-based GHG calculator on the city solid waste page.
Publicize and promote reuse/repair/rental businesses on your city website, in newsletter articles; facilitate neighbor-to-neighbor reuse of large items before annual 'curbside cleanups.'
Document increased use of these businesses; organize volunteers (or support others) to run at least one "fix-it" clinic for community members.
Action 4: Publicize, promote and use the varied businesses/services collecting and marketing used, repaired and rental consumer goods, especially electronics, in the city/county.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Resilient Economic & Community Development   Resilient Economic & Community Development

Green Business Development
{ BP no. 25 }

Provide incentives such as targeted loans, grants, streamlined permitting processes; participate in coordinated marketing and business assistance efforts, or provide similar such support; actively support women- and minority-owned businesses.
Provide or link businesses to incubator space, local/MN suppliers, or other tangible assests.
Utilize an economic gardening approach; support the creation of co-operatively owned businesses (report retail food co-ops under action 27.4); develop workforce training opportunities with community colleges and job training centers to credential, for example, energy auditors.
Action 1: Grow new/emerging green businesses and green jobs through targeted assistance and new workforce development.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Promote business assistance providers on your city web site on an ongoing basis, or identify how the city has promoted business assistance to at least 5 for-profit or non-profit organizations about audit/assistance programs within the past year. Report outreach to just tourism businesses under action 25.3; report work on business operations related to water under action 20.6; report promotion of PACE financing under action 26.3
Participate on a 1-time basis in a campaign organized by an assistance provider; report outcomes from these visits (# of businesses assisted, by whom, sampling of results/improvements made, such as energy or waste reductions). Report assistance to businesses on water conservation and wastewater pretreatment (could be from a city utility) under actions 20.6 and 20.7
Create an ongoing city-organized business assistance program AND report results (financial/environmental outcomes).
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.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Identify how area tourism is featuring green aspects of the area/their business, and/or how the city has contacted businesses (and how many) about making internal green changes within their business.
Create or participate in an ongoing green tourism initiative; facilitate follow-up with at least 5 businesses to assist them/arrange for assistance to them in greening their business.
Document the financial and environmental outcomes from these green tourism efforts on your city web site. Report any green tourism business certifications earned in action 25.6.
Action 3: Promote sustainable tourism in your city, and green tourism resources to tourism and hospitality businesses in/around the city.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Recognize and promote (for example, on your city web site) businesses whose environmental actions are recognized by a local, regional or statewide program, such actions as recycling, reducing materials use, lowered toxicity in products, selling locally created compost, energy efficiency, EV charging station for employees/patrons, etc.
Recognize and promote businesses that are certified under a GreenStep-linked or national green business program.
Provide a city preference for support and use of certified green businesses.
Action 6: Promote green businesses that are recognized under a local, regional or national program.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Collaborate with local organizations, such as a local business group or a business assistance provider, to produce a multi-pronged branding effort (beyond just information on a city or chamber web site) promoting diverse businesses located in/nearby the city. Report local tourism, local purchasing by the city, and local food under action 25.3, and best practices 15 and 27, respectively.
Compile a list of locally owned businesses located in/nearby the city and promote them and their products (such as compost, books, arts & crafts).
Create incentives for buying and investing locally; create a local currency or (discounted) local dollar gift certificates; report results of your buy local efforts, including specific benefits to the local economy; enact policies that support emerging and existing locally-owned businesses.
Action 7: Conduct or participate in a buy local campaign for community members and local businesses.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Renewable Energy
{ BP no. 26 }

Ensure that solar and/or wind energy installations are allowed land uses for appropriate zoning districts within the zoning code.
Adopt the Grow Solar land use best practices or a wind ordinance with provisions that promote rather than restrict renewable energy installations. Include incentive provisions such as fee guidelines, fast-tracking permits (as noted in action 26.7). Note land use or street standards that maximize solar orientation of buildings.
Adopt solar energy standards and a wind energy ordinance; require renewable energy installations or RE-ready buildings when the city is a financial participant in a project; adopt a biomass ordinance to govern cogeneration facilities.
Action 1: Adopt solar energy standards, wind energy/biomass ordinance that allows or encourages appropriate renewable energy installations.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Report methods used, such as information included in a city newsletter and on the city website, and active ongoing promotion (twice or more per year) at city events, through city loan programs and the like. For green power purchasing through a municipal utility, report total kWh per year subcribed along with the number of participating households.
Partner with utility and local organization/community groups to promote this information (at least quarterly) through city utility bill inserts, workshops, community education courses, local lectures, etc.
Be recognized as an EPA Green Power Community, or report installed capacity as a result of a city-supported campaign.
Action 2: Consistently promote resident/business purchases/generation of clean energy by means of:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. A local utility's green power purchasing program that allows residents/businesses to order/buy new renewable energy.

b. Local, state and federal financial incentives for property owners to install renewable energy systems.


Document how the city supported a bulk-buy program of RE components (for residents, city employees, or employees of a business) or a community project organized by others. Report number of participants, installed capacity in kW and cost data. Report a city government subscription to a community solar garden under 15.2
Describe the city's role in a Community Solar Garden project (leasing roof space, providing guidance for pollinator habitat on the site, etc.).
Describe a deeper role the city/municipal utility played in creating a Solar Garden, e.g., subscribing municipal utility customers, donated city land, work with your county Community Action program to redirect LIHEAP dollars to a local community solar garden.
Action 4: Support a community solar garden or help community members participate in a community renewable energy project.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Describe any public sector project and report installed capacity in kW. Report purchase of green tags, community solar garden subscriptions, and 3rd party solar under action 15.2; report wastewater biogas projects under 20.6; solid waste anaerobic digestion under 22.5; geothermal under 1.7
Install at least two different RE technologies and report installed capacity in kW; show that a RE installation has shaved off peak energy demand and allowed the monthly utility demand charge to be decreased; report installed battery storage.
Install RE capacity in excess of 100 kW; report combined heat and power generation, parking lot PV canopies.
Action 5: Install a public sector/municipally-owned renewable energy technology, such as solar electric (PV), biomass, solar hot water/air, micro-hydro or wind.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Local Food
{ BP no. 27 }

Remove restrictions to food gardening/raising of chickens/bees in residential areas. Report beehives on city property under action 18.5
Proactively zone for & allow by right food gardening/raising of chickens/bees; report one or more developments that have dedicated, permanent and managed growing space, such as resident garden space, and/or related facilities (such as greenhouses). Report under GreenStep action 3.5 adopted city guidelines that prevent the restriction of food production through homeowner (HOA) agreements (CC&Rs).
Work with a rental building owner to establish a community garden, farmer's market or CSA/food buying club drop-point within 1/2 mile; establish tax incentives to use vacant lots for urban agriculture.
Action 2: Facilitate creation of home/community gardens, chicken & bee keeping, and incorporation of food growing areas/access in multifamily residential developments.     [Click here for self-reported city details ]  


Summarize what exists in the city: a farmer's market, urban ag businesses, etc.
Report on supportive actions taken by the city such as use of city land for a farmer's market, garden plots in city parks, hiring a garden/market coordinator, supporting season extension techniques such as hoop houses or greenhouses; donations from markets/gardens to food shelves.
Report on percent of housing units within a 1 mile of a healthy food source (farmer's market, community garden, CSA drop point, and stores with an NAICS code of 445110 or 445230); convert top level of a parking ramp for a local food growing business.
Action 3: Create, assist with and promote local food production/distribution within the city:     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. A farmer's market or co-op buying club.

b. An urban agriculture business or a community-supported agriculture (CSA) arrangement between farmers and community members/employees.

c. A community or school garden, orchard or forest.


Document city efforts, via city resources and through a local food campaign, to increase purchases of food with at least one of the following attributes: local, Minnesota-grown, organic, humanely raised, grown by fairly compensated growers.
Report increased sales of local food through groceries and restaurants.
Document increased institutional buying of local foods by schools, hospitals, nursing homes and event centers; create a city health/nutrition policy with healthy/local food goals and implementation plans.
Action 4: Measurably increase institutional buying, and sales through groceries and restaurants.     [Click here for self-reported city details ] a. Purchasing of local/organic/humane/equitable foods by schools, hospitals, nursing homes and event centers.

b. Sales of local/organic/humane/equitable food in markets, retail food co-ops, rural grocery stores, urban convenience stores, food carts/trucks, hotels and restaurants.