By Gwen Willems
How do you challenge yourself after serving on the Falcon Heights City Council for eight years and as mayor for another 11 years?
What Peter Lindstrom did was join the 17-member Metropolitan Council’s policy-making board in 2019, when Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz appointed members with local government experience.
It’s the large number of local officials on it that, Lindstrom said, has made the Metropolitan Council the most diverse in its history.
The current board is “the most diverse ever, in every meaning of the word, so lots of different experiences are brought to the table,” Lindstrom explained. “This is a huge advantage in formulating policies that work for everybody.”
The council’s Environment Committee, which Lindstrom chairs, addresses such things as sewer policy and planning, environmental reviews, wastewater facilities and treatment, water supply and federal and state regulations. The Met Council’s Waste Water Control Commission treats 250 million gallons of wastewater daily, resulting in “water going into the (Mississippi) river that is cleaner than river water itself,” Lindstrom noted.
Created in 1967, the Met Council is “a regional solution for regional problems.” At that point, “the Twin Cities was second in urban sprawl, behind L.A.,” Lindstrom said.
With staff support, the Metro Council coalition –_ including 7seven counties and 181 cities and townships _ — has tackled transportation, wastewater treatment, water supplies, housing, planning, parks and community development among many issues.
The Met Council is now starting its next 10-year regional comprehensive plan. Population is forecast to increase significantly in the 7-county region in the next decade and those residents will need transit, wastewater treatment services and housing.
Lindstrom added, “We’ve also just completed a Climate Action plan that looks at ways to reduce our own climate impact.”
Besides serving on the Metropolitan Council, Lindstrom has a full-time job in clean energy at the University of Minnesota.
“I love my job,” Lindstrom said. “Every day I get to help local governments and schools be more energy efficient and use renewable energy. That matches up with my Met Council work.”
Lindstrom is married and has two children. His oldest son is taking after his father, serving as a youth representative on the Falcon Heights’ Community Engagement Commission.
Gwen Willems lives in Falcon Heights and is a Bugle freelance writer.