St. Louis Park's industrial legacy
St. Louis Park, like many other communities located in urban areas, has had its share of challenges to manage from the legacy of poor environmental stewardship predating the 1970s. As awareness grew of the toll that pollution was taking on the environment and human health, regulations and laws to manage contaminants were put in place.
A history of environmental activism
St. Louis Park often led the way in taking measures to protect its own residents and to set an example for the state. That included managing its industrial legacy responsibility, such as the Reilly Chemical & Tar Corp. site and several others. Below are a few examples of St. Louis Park’s proud tradition of future-forward thinking about environmental issues.
- 1969 — St. Louis Park became the only suburb with a strict anti-pollution ordinance. Its provisions were a basis for the state pollution control law. Among other activities, the St. Louis Park ordinance banned burning of leaves and required a license to burn refuse and a permit for recreational fires and barbeques. (Source: St. Louis Park Historical Society)
- 1960s — St. Louis Park was the first city in Minnesota to establish weekly residential trash pickup.
- 1984 —The first citywide curbside recycling pickup was on April 16, 1984, with collections made twice a month at no charge to residents. This pilot program received state and national coverage due to the high rate (50 percent) of residents who used the program.
- 1987 — St. Louis Park was named the leading city in Hennepin County for its efforts to recycle glass, paper, cans and yard waste. (Source: St. Louis Park Historical Society)
- 2013 — The city started its organics collection program, which now has close to 4,500 households participating.
- 2016 — While it didn’t come to be, in 1970 the St. Louis Park City Council heard a proposal to switch from internal combustion engines to propane gas for city gas stations and city cars. (Source: St. Louis Park Historical Society) This proposal was a few decades ahead of its time – the city began purchasing hybrid vehicles in 2007 and purchased its first electric vehicle in 2016.
- 2018 — St. Louis Park City Council adopted the Climate Action Plan, with the ambitious goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2040. To achieve those goals, the city has already implemented energy efficiency practices, increased renewable energy use and made other improvements.