Minnetonka and Hopkins – Equity and Inclusion

Minnetonka City Council Member Kissy Coakley worked with Hopkins School Board Member Jen Westmoreland Bouchard to host virtual community conversations with diverse community members that resulted in several changes in operations and grading in the Hopkins School District to better bring out the gifts of their students of color.  Kissy Coakley is a founding member of RCC’s BIPOC Local Elected Leaders network.  

Equity and Inclusion – Hopkins Schools

Bloomington – A Sustainability Commission Leader

In 2016 Tim Sandry, a newly retired IT professional who is passionate about environmental sustainability, recruited fellow Bloomington residents to form a “task force” to look into establishing a Sustainability Commission in the city of Bloomington. The task force interviewed staff and members of such Commissions in other cities including Edina, Eden Prairie, and St. Louis Park. Working with city Council Members Dwayne Lowman and Jack Baloga, the task force persuaded the City Council to both make environmental sustainability a strategic priority for the City of Bloomington and to establish a Sustainability Commission. The Bloomington City Council later agreed to hire Emma Struss as the Sustainability Coordinator.

Recently the city hired Faith Jackson as Bloomington’s Racial Equity Coordinator. The Sustainability Commission received high level Environmental Justice training from Coordinator Jackson and as a result launched an Environmental Justice working group that is being led by YanYan Zeng, one of the Commission’s Young Adult members. The working group, in collaboration with Coordinators Jackson and Struss will be developing proposals for specific Environmental Justice initiatives to present to the Bloomington City Council early next year. In addition, as part of its 2021 planning, the Sustainability Commission will be working to ensure that all initiatives are viewed through the lens of Environmental Justice.

City of Bloomington – Racial Equity and Inclusion

Faribault – City Wide Climate Resilience Planning

Faribault’s population of 23,577 includes 27% people of color 

RCC staff are currently working with Faribault City Planner Dave Wanberg and a local steering team to  develop a climate resilience implementation plan for the city. Dave Wanberg organized sustainability  forums with the leading local businesses and industries. Several of the business leaders were influential  during City Council meetings to win approval for Faribault’s Energy Action Plan. Faribault’s new Environmental Commission includes motivated citizen volunteers that are advancing a variety of sustainability Initiatives.  

The City of Faribault through its participation in Partners in Energy recently partnered with a local BIPOC led NGO, Growing Up Healthy to engage members of Faribault’s growing Latinx and Somali Communities and residents of a manufactured home community to make energy efficiency improvements to their homes.  

Brooklyn Center – Co-Designing a Regenerative Urban Community

Brooklyn Center’s population of 30,855 includes 59% people of color 

Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot, recently asked RCC staff to do a presentation to  the City Council and the Opportunity Site Coalition (to be scheduled) to share successful examples from  other large site redevelopment projects (i.e. Ford Site) that have been successful in creating agreements  with their developer to increase the amount of affordable housing, affordable retail space and  sustainability features in the project.

The Brooklyn Park City Council is currently working with Atlatus  LCC to plan the redevelopment of a 100-acre site on Highway 242, in partnership with their BIPOC citizen-led Opportunity Site Coalition. The Coalition was formed by Brooklyn Center residents (ACER, CAPI,  Liberian Business Association, Greater Minneapolis Federated Labor Union, and Alliance for Metro  Stability) to ensure the redevelopment of the Brookdale mall site equally benefits diverse residents and business owners. The city has control of 38 acres creating a unique opportunity to co-design a model for  a regenerative urban community.