Here is a round-up of some environmentally friendly practices and green space expansions being carried out in and around the Twin Cities metro area and Minnesota.
Power from a new 10-megawatt hydroelectric plant located along on the Mississippi River, just below the new Interstate 35W bridge at the Lower St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam, will produce enough electricity for about 7,500 homes by the end of next year. The new $35 million plant is about 30% complete. Brookfield Renewable Power of Massachusetts, which owns it, will sell its electricity to Xcel Energy.
Members of the Pedro family, which had a longtime luggage business at 10th and Robert Streets, have donated the land to the city of St. Paul on the condition it be turned into a park. Trees and grass will replace the concrete and brick on one block of downtown St. Paul. According to the article, Carl Pedro Sr. left Italy for St. Paul in 1907 and opened his business, Pedro Luggage, in 1914. In the 1960s, the business moved into a building at 10th and Robert streets. It shut down about a year ago. There is no immediate plan or money for the park yet.
An agreement between Jeff and Hope Luedtke and the City of Andover will preserve 38 acres of the property through the city's first purchase under the open space bond proposal voters approved in 2006. The idea was to make sure that some of the city's open land would remain in its natural state, for the enjoyment of its citizens. The city and the Luedtkes hope to close on the $930,000 purchase by the end of the year. That would be a little less than half of the $2 million that Andover has set aside under the program to buy land and preserve it from development.
The 8-mile stretch of Nine Mile Creek running through Hopkins will be getting a facelift. Workers for the Nine Mile Creek Watershed District will relieve the creek of overgrown brush, soften the slope of its banks, line its bed with smooth river stones, and reroute it from a straight "drainage ditch" into a meandering channel through Hopkins' Valley Park. The ambitious $4.5 million Hopkins project is aimed at stopping erosion and making the water more hospitable to fish.
Months after Washington County opened a $5.3 million environmental center at 4039 Cottage Grove Drive in Woodbury to replace a smaller one in Oakdale, more residents are bringing in more recyclable materials. They even hit a record, with over 1,000 residents coming to the center in a single week for the first time. The environmental center replaced the county's household hazardous waste collection site in Oakdale, which closed in June. 213,000 residents dropped off over 12 million pounds of waste at the old site over the course of its 15 years in operation. This fall, the Woodbury center has averaged a 31% increase in participation over the number of people who went to the Oakdale center. The convenient location and extra large "reuse" room is part of the reason for its success.
Finally, a home in St. Paul's Highland Park neighborhood stands out from its neighbors. Homeowners/architects Kevin Flynn and Roxanne Nelson have turned it into an ambitious demonstration in sustainable design, construction and materials, complete with solar panels for heat and hot water, and an 800-square-foot green roof. It has a crisp, modern look and you probably wouldn't be able to tell the home started as a 1940s Cape Cod. The couple wanted to prove that a green renovation could emerge from the structure of an existing home on a standard city lot. Read all about it in this Star Tribune Article.
There you have it, a collection of inspiring, green, and earth-friendly stories from the around the Twin Cities. Until the next Greening Minnesota!