Sustainability is the goal for Rosemount
At the beginning of the year the Rosemount City Council identified sustainability as one of their three major goals for the future. As a way to reach that goal, the city has been selected to take part in the Leadership STAR Community program.
Community development director Kim Linquist said the city council really wants to start initiating more practices that will help the city become more sustainable. The value of participating in the STAR Communities program, she said, is to see where the city sits now and what actions can lead to a more sustainable community.
Participation in the program means Rosemount will have access to national experts as the city works to become a certified STAR Community. STAR is an acronym for Sustainability Tools for Accessing and Rating Communities.
STAR Communities helps cities and counties achieve meaningful sustainability through a national framework. The framework offers standards and tools for local governments.
City administrator Dwight Johnson said the program has a broad definition of sustainability that includes social, economic and environmental aspects of a community.
As part of the program the city will gather information about its strengths and weaknesses regarding the different sustainability measures.
“We will learn something about ourselves as we go through the process,” said Johnson.
Rosemount will be one of the smaller communities to seek STAR designation. Lindquist said the city’s goal is to be rated a 3-star community on a scale of five.
Lindquist said city staff feels three stars is a manageable goal. She added that many of the criteria are directed towards bigger cities, making it difficult for Rosemount to meet them.
Lindquist believes participation in the program will come in handy as the University of Minnesota moves forward developing a sustainable community on its UMore Park property in the southern part of Rosemount. She said the city does not want the UMore property to be isolated from the rest of the community.
By instituting sustainability practices throughout the community, Rosemount will have more continuity, said Lindquist.
Pragmatically, Lindquist said being recognized could benefit economic development efforts. She said the city hopes to use its participation in the STAR Leadership program as a marketing tool.
Assembling the information needed will require the efforts of city staff in several departments. It’s estimated it will take several hundred hours to complete all the needed information.
To help defray some of the costs, the city received a $3,750 scholarship from the Funder’s Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities.
When finished, Lindquist said, the city will have a clearer picture of where the city stands. With that information, she said the city council will be able to create policies and plans to reach its sustainability goals.
Mayor Bill Droste said the city council is committed to making sure Rosemount remains a great place to live and work. He said participating in the STAR Communities program will empower Rosemount going forward.
“All cities will face challenges related to growth and to trends in energy and environmental factors. Rosemount’s participation in STAR Communities will give us an advantage in meeting these challenges.”