Green digest // Climate grants

City awards 15 climate grants

KINGFIELD — The Kingfield Neighborhood Association won two of the 15 city-sponsored climate change grants awarded May 7 at the Seward Co-op.

This Kingfield Neighborhood Association and a neighborhood church won several of the 15 city-sponsored climate change grants awarded May 7 at the Seward Co-op.

This year, the city awarded local businesses and organizations about $75,000 in grants to aid efforts to limit the impact of climate change. Those including seven grants of up to $10,000 and eight “micro-grants” of up to $1,500, the city reported.

The Kingfield Neighborhood Association [KFNA] won one of the larger grants to partially fund the establishment of an HOURCAR neighborhood car-sharing hub. It also won a micro-grant to dig a community garden and promote eating locally grown food.

Another micro-grant winner was Judson Memorial Baptist Church, 4101 Harriet Ave. The church planned to use its award to promote bicycle riding to Sunday services, and also to fund low-waste festivals and church renovations.

KFNA Project Organizer Sarah Gleason said the HOURCAR hub had been promoted by the neighborhood Green Committee. The grant will help them set up one HOURCAR hub at a location yet to be determined, Gleason said.

“They’re really zeroing in around 38th [Street] and Nicollet [Avenue], although 38th [Street] and Pleasant [Avenue] is still in the conversation,” she said.

Gleason said both sites had advantages. The Nicollet location was in closer proximity to public transit, but the Pleasant location had greater residential density, she said.

Neighborhood Energy Connection, a St. Paul-based nonprofit organization, pioneered car-sharing in the Twin Cities. It owns a fleet of about 20 Toyota Prius gas-electric hybrids and other fuel-efficient vehicles stationed at about 12 sites in Minneapolis and five sites in St. Paul, the organization reported on its website (www.hourcar.org).

The HOURCAR website shows several hubs in Southwest located in the CARAG, East Isles, Whittier and Stevens Square neighborhoods.

Gleason said the city grant would cover only a portion of the cost to establish a hub, which she estimated at about $23,000. Matching funds from the McKnight Foundation will get the neighborhood closer to the total needed, but some additional fundraising likely will be required, she said.

Gleason said a group of Kingfield residents were also exploring four potential sites for a community garden, the project that won them a city micro-grant.

She said about a dozen neighborhood residents met with a representative of Gardening Matters, a local community gardening organization. They plan to break ground on the garden next spring.

Kingfield residents seeking more information on either project should email KFNA Executive Director Sarah Linnes-Robinson at [email protected]

Minneapolis began awarding climate change grants in 2007. Other grant recipients this year include Hennepin County Medical Center, which plans to start a rooftop herb garden that will produce greens for its cafeteria, and Bedlam Theater, which plans to start a composting program.

All grant winners are required to sign up participants in the Minnesota Energy Challenge, an online resource for Minneapolis residents and businesses who want to reduce their carbon footprint. Find the energy challenge online at www.mnenergy
challenge.org/.

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Help green Hennepin County

Have an idea to help the county reduce its carbon footprint?

Hennepin County recently launched an online suggestion box where residents can contribute ideas for cutting the county’s greenhouse gas emissions. The launch followed a county-hosted National Spotlight Conversation on Climate Action this past Earth Day.

At that event, which was not open to the public, about 80 local business and civic leaders discussed ways to make Hennepin County a leader in the fight against climate change. They suggested the county set specific targets and goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, partner with other groups and provide education on climate change to county residents, the county reported.

To submit an idea, go to the Hennepin County website and click on the Cool County link.