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City accepts environmental and equity honors

Mayor Sean Dowse presented the GreenStep Cities step three and four awards to the citizens of Red Wing. Dowse received the awards on Red Wing's behalf at the League of Minnesota Cities annual meeting June 14-16 in Rochester.

"GreenStep Cities is a free and voluntary program designed to help Minnesota cities achieve their environmental sustainability goals through the implementation of 29 best practices," Dowse said at the June 26 council meeting.

Dowse said the practices can be applied in the areas of transportation, buildings and lighting, environmental management, land use, and economic and community development.

"The actions can be tailored to all sorts of Minnesota cities, and they focus on cost savings, energy use reduction and encouraging innovation," he said.

To reach step four, cities track and submit metrics from a selection of categories, such as energy and water use, vehicle fleet efficiency and community and economic development. Dowse said a total of five Minnesota cities achieved this distinction in 2016-2017: Eagan, Falcon Heights, Oakdale, Red Wing and St. Paul.

To reach step five, cities must show improvements of those metrics.

Council member Evan Brown said many people have contributed over the years to help Red Wing reach step four, pointing specifically to the work of the Sustainability Commission.

Red Wing was additionally honored by the League of Minnesota Cities with the President's Award Presentation for Government Alliance on Race and Equity. Dowse said 10 cities recognized.

He acknowledged Michelle Leise of Live Healthy Red Wing, Mark Ryan, member of the Human Rights Commission, Officer Scott Kochendoerfer of the Red Wing Police Department, Shawn Blaney, deputy director of buildings/grounds, and Dean Chamberlain, city staff engineer for their efforts.