Hopkins Is A GreenStep City

LMC recognitionThe City of Hopkins had the honor of being recognized as a Minnesota GreenStep City and received a certificate honoring efforts to date at the League of Minnesota Cities Conference on June 26, 2015 for continued participation in the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program.

Minnesota GreenStep Cities is a challenge, assistance, and recognition program. As one of 83 participating cities, the City of Hopkins is helping to lead the way in sustainably across the state of Minnesota. The City has worked hard to implement best practices in order to fulfill their sustainability goals. Actions that are taken within the program focus on cost savings, energy use reduction, and the encouragement of civic innovation.

How did Hopkins become a GreenStep City?

To be recognized as a GreenStep City, Hopkins implemented 17 of the 28 best practices {BPs}, in such areas as building & lighting, land use, transportation, environmental management, and economic & community development.

These 17 best practices, plus additional ones implemented since the initial recognition, are summarized below. Click the description to see actions taken by the City to fulfill that best practice.

icon Building & Lighting

{BP01} Efficient Existing Public Buildings: Work with utilities and others to assess and finance energy and sustainability improvements of existing structures.

Actions taken: Hopkins continually updates the Minnesota B3 benchmarking database. The City then uses the information to assess energy efficiency in all City-owned buildings. Hopkins had two buildings fall into the bottom third of the B3 energy performance ranking: City Hall and the parking ramp. City Hall received new boilers in fall of 2010, and the parking ramp is scheduled for new lighting in spring 2011. With the help from a grant, the Depot Coffee House will be installing solar panels on the roof.

{BP04} Efficient Building & Street Lighting and Signals: Improve the efficiency of public and private lighting and signals.

Actions taken: The City has installed and will continue to install LED lights, Dark-Sky compliant outdoor lighting, and solar-powered signs whenever possible. Stoplights are synchronized to minimize the wait time for cars, cutting down their idling time. In 2008 Hopkins installed solar-powered, flashing trail crossing signs in Burnes Park.

icon Land Use

{BP06} Comprehensive Plan and Implementation: Adopt a Comprehensive Plan and tie regulatory ordinances to it.

Actions taken: Hopkins updated its Comprehensive Plan in 2009; it will guide the City’s land use regulations and policies for the next 10 to 20 years.

{BP07} Efficient City Growth: Limit barriers to higher density housing

Actions taken: A mixed-use zoning ordinance 2011-1031, is in place to provide a variety of residential housing types and densities to support a mix of uses. It integrates new mixed use development with its surroundings by encouraging connections for pedestrians and vehicles.

{BP08} Mixed Uses

Actions taken: Hopkins’ Comprehensive Plan plans for a variety of land uses in its downtown district and specifically addresses vertical mixed-use development.

icon Transportation

{BP11} Living Streets: Create a network of multimodal green streets.

Actions taken: Every year as part of street reconstruction projects, Hopkins documents the installation of trees, green stormwater infrastructure, and any utility renovations as needed. A resolution has been passed supporting a “Complete Streets” policy.

{BP12} Mobility Options: Promote active living and alternatives to single-occupancy car travel.

Actions taken: The City has long realized the need to improve the connection between Excelsior Blvd and Mainstreet for vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. The plan for a Southwest Light Rail Transit (LRT) station at 8th Avenue South and Excelsior Blvd has underlined that need and identified an important goal of attracting transit riders to Downtown Hopkins.

Hopkins also participates in various Active Living campaigns such as the Step to It Challenge and the Hopkins Citizens Academy.

{BP13} Efficient City Fleets: Implement a city fleet investment, operations and maintenance plan.

Actions taken: Hopkins currently monitors the fuel usage and costs of the Police, Fire, and Public Works Departments. Monthly maintenance is scheduled on all city vehicles. Hopkins has bike police patrols, and bicycles are made available for City inspectors. There are two designated electric car permit stalls with electrical outlets located in the public downtown parking ramp.

{BP14} Demand-Side Travel Planning: Use Travel Demand Management and Transit-Oriented Design.

Actions taken: The City provides incentives for the siting of higher density housing. The City requires higher-density housing around transit zones, which will provide residents easy access to transit. It also uses Travel Demand Management (TDM) to increase the number and proportion of people who share rides and who travel outside of rush hours.

icon Environmental Management

{BP15} Purchasing: Adopt an environmentally preferable purchasing policy.

Actions taken: Hopkins currently follows Minnesota’s state statutes on purchasing EnergyStar certified equipment as well purchasing 30% post-consumer recycled paper. There is no specific policy in place which Hopkins will be looking into.

{BP16} Urban Forests: Increase city tree and plant cover.

Actions taken: In 2009, Hopkins was named a Tree City USA for the 30th time. Hopkins meets the four standards to become a Tree City USA by having a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry program, and an Arbor Day observance. The City has also maximized tree planting along Mainstreet in downtown, with four trees per block on each side of the street.

{BP17} Innovative Stormwater Management: Minimize the volume of and pollutants in water runoff.

Actions taken: All the water from rain and snow that fall in Hopkins and is not absorbed or evaporated runs into the City’s storm sewer system. In 2010, Hopkins became one of only four cities in Minnesota to be awarded a Blue Star Award, given to communities that are taking a leadership role in protecting Minnesota's water resources and public health through excellence in stormwater management. The City scored a 123/160 in the following categories: planning and preservation, stormwater standards and practices, and stormwater pollution prevention. The City has adapted the Water Resource Management Plan to help meet regulatory requirements, and to plan for future alterations in the existing drainage system.

{BP18} Parks and Trails: Enhance city parks and trails.

Actions taken: Hopkins uses a standard of seven acres of municipal park land per 1000 people as a benchmark for planning purposes. Also the residents of Hopkins are all within one-quarter to one-half mile of a neighborhood or community park. The Meadowbrook Golf course has been a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary for over two years.

{BP22} Solid Waste Reduction: Increase waste reduction, reuse and recycling.

Actions taken: The City’s solid waste collection system encourages residents to reduce waste through our mandatory recycling ordinance, volume-based pricing structure, and added fees for extra refuse and bulk. Additionally the City regularly provides promotional materials and activities to educate residents on waste reduction, reuse, recycling and purchasing recycled products. Our current in-house purchasing policy advocates the purchase of products made with recycled content. There is also an organics recycling program in place.

{BP23} Local Air Quality: Prevent generation of local air contaminants.

Actions taken: Hopkins has two designated electric car permit stalls with electrical outlets located in the public parking ramp. Recreational fires in Hopkins do not require a permit (expect during a burning ban) if they meet the requirements set forth by the Department of Natural Resources, the State of Minnesota and the City of Hopkins. The City does require a permit for recreational burning if it does not meet regulations.

iconEconomic and Community Development

{BP24} Benchmarks & Community Engagement: Adopt outcome measures for GreenStep and other city sustainability efforts, and engage community members in ongoing education, discussion, and campaigns.

Actions taken: Hopkins currently compiles this information every 10 years in its Comprehensive Plan. The City will be looking into a system to report annual progress to community members. Hopkins records all green activity on the City's website. There is also a GreenStep Cities poster located in the lobby of City Hall.

{BP25} Green Business Development: Document the use of assistance programs for green business and job development.

Actions taken: The City of Hopkins’ Housing and Redevelopment Authority has awarded multiple sites (such as Cargill/Excelsior Crossing, LA Fitness, Hopkins Business Center, Hopkins Honda) clean up money for development.

{BP26} Renewable Energy: Enable collaboration for installed private sector renewable energy/energy efficient generation capacity.

Actions taken: With a Solar Energy Legacy Grant from the DNR, the Depot Coffee House has installed solar panels on the roof, which had lead to great educational opportunities and raised community awareness about alternative energy and sustainability.

{BP27} Local Food: Strengthen local food and fiber production and access.

Actions taken: The Hopkins Farmers’ Market features Minnesota grown vegetables, fruits, herbs, meat, poultry, honey, flowers, annual plants, handmade soaps, crafts, jewelry, kettle corn, pet toys, herb cookbooks, jams and jellies, bakery items, bread, and snacks. Hopkins high school and elementary schools also have gardens. The City of Hopkins also provides a community garden site area in Valley Park, where residents can rent a 20 ft by 20 ft garden plot for the season. There are also gardens at the elementary schools and high schools.


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