May 14, 2015
City, Partners Launch Saint Paul EcoDistrict
The City of Saint Paul and its project partners today officially launched the Saint Paul EcoDistrict along the Mississippi Riverfront. Spanning from Rice Park to the Mississippi River and from Market Street to West 7th Street, the Saint Paul EcoDistrict features a concentration of advanced sustainable technologies and innovative environmental programming that is unique in the United States. Partners plan to leverage the destination to educate and entertain kids, families and science lovers through a unique online education platform while inspiring other initiatives within the District.
“With over half of the world’s population currently living in urban areas, cities are critical players in the fight to address climate change,” said Mayor Chris Coleman. “We need to engage the public in a meaningful way, and to create hands-on tools for people to explore how companies and organizations within our city are advancing ideas and solutions.”
The creation of Saint Paul’s EcoDistrict is part of a national effort to focus urban planning on sustainable development and to create places within a city in which environmental principles are integrated into spaces where people live, work and play. It is the first phase of a multi-year effort aimed at encouraging even greater collaboration within the EcoDistrict around sustainability programming and technological advancement.
A new website, saintpaulecodistrict.com, will serve as the online educational portal to the EcoDistrict for residents and visitors alike, enabling engagement in the unique projects that exist within it. Notable projects include seven solar installations, underground pipes connecting people to efficient renewable energy, a system for heating more than half of the downtown area with urban wood waste, and a variety of organizations setting the bar for energy conservation and waste reduction and composting. The site will be updated as new projects and partners come on board.
Initial EcoDistrict projects include those developed by the City of Saint Paul, District Energy St. Paul, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and Saint Paul RiverCentre and Xcel Energy Center to further the missions of their businesses and promote sustainability. Through the help of Visit Saint Paul, these partners are sharing their stories with the public, demonstrating how these technologies work and helping to highlight Saint Paul’s national leadership.
“The Saint Paul EcoDistrict is a destination where tourism and sustainability intersect,” said Terry Mattson, President and CEO of Visit Saint Paul. “It is a combination of green initiatives unlike anywhere else in the entire United States.”
Today’s announcement kicked off a half-day workshop for more than 60 local stakeholders as part of the events surrounding the Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation’s Great River Gathering. The workshop, titled Saint Paul EcoDistrict, is co-hosted by the Science Museum of Minnesota, District Energy St. Paul, Smart Trips and Public Art Saint Paul, and features 11 new projects that will bolster Saint Paul’s EcoDistrict over the next few years.
“Over the years, our company has learned that there is a great interest in exploring sustainability and technology and it is very powerful to experience these things first-hand,” said Ken Smith, President and CEO of District Energy St. Paul. “We are certain that the Saint Paul EcoDistrict will help our city encourage greater environmental awareness, sustainable investment and raise the visibility of all we have accomplished together as environmental leaders.”