On the evening of October 24th I was lucky enough to attend a meeting of the Bloomington City Council where they discussed a key piece of the work I’m doing as a community coordinator for Conservation Minnesota. A lot of issues were on the council’s agenda that evening, including approval of a new parking ramp and how to deal with the closure of one of the city’s two mobile home communities. Of all the issues before the council, one had a pretty major significance for me: an ordinance to establish a sustainability commission.
I’ve been working to establish a sustainability commission in Bloomington since the summer of 2015. The idea was simple enough: have the city create a body of citizens to help shape the city’s environmental policies and practices. Of course it’s one thing to come up with an idea, it’s another thing to turn that idea into a reality.
Fortunately, I had a lot of help with this project. Behind the scenes, two city council members were tireless advocates for a sustainability commission. In addition, dozens of residents and Conservation Minnesota members supported the idea. A dedicated group of volunteers, called the Bloomington Sustainability Commission Task Force, has also been meeting regularly since the spring to figure our how to make this commission a reality.
We also had help from commissioners and staff members in neighboring cities, such as Edina, St. Louis Park, and Eden Prairie where a similar type of commission already existed. These leaders were willing to meet with us and share with us their own experiences of their commissions’ successes and failures.
As I said, all of this hard work paid off big time on October 24th when the Bloomington City Council unanimously voted to establish the new commission.
So, what’s in store for the new commission? Nine new commissioners have to be appointed by the city council – a process that will hopefully be completed by January. Then the commission will have to get to work on issues such as clean water, energy, and solid waste.
In other words, there is a lot more work to do in Bloomington. Thankfully we’ll have a new city commission to work with when it comes to preserving the Minnesota we all love.