“When I was running for city council, I knocked on somebody’s door, and the person asked me ‘Do you believe in global warming?” said Circle Pines city council member Dean Goldberg. “And I said, ‘you know, city council doesn’t address global warming,’ Well, I was wrong.”
That’s because of a new commitment to sustainability in the city, as a part of the GreenStep Cities program. It’s a public-private partnership to help cities achieve their sustainability and quality-of-life goals.
Circle Pines has been making taking some of these green steps before they joined the program, including using LED street lights.
They’ve also been working to be efficient with their water usage by recycling rain water at Baldwin Park.
“The water that runs off the parking lots and streets there go into a pond that then is used to irrigate baseball field,” said Circle Pines mayor Dave Bartholomay.
The city is also working to clean up the phosphorus in the water at Golden Lake, through an iron-enhanced sand filter.
But, Circle Pines isn’t the only area city taking this step. Lexington became a GreenStep City in 2015.
“I think GreenStep Cities program is really about a community setting goals,” said Lexington city administrator Bill Petracek.
Through this process, Circle Pines hopes that the residents take notice.
“I think that people already see us as somewhat environmentally progressive,” said Circle Pines city council member Matt Percy. “And, we’ve been working really hard to show that we are fiscally responsible too. And because this fits into both of those molds, I think that’s going to help to continue that message going forward.”
And hope that residents might pick up some new sustainable practices of their own.
“You can’t really ask other people to go do a lot of things – save energy, take shorter showers, don’t water your lawn so much, if you’re not doing it yourself,” said Bartholomay.
There are five steps in the program, and based on the work the city has already done, they are already at step two. To get to step five, they will have to complete several more best practices, and show improvement in key metrics.