By Andrea Cordle
The city of Grove City uses rain gardens throughout the area. It encourages the use of rain barrels through community workshops and hosts an annual Eco Fest. Now, city leaders are considering one more program to promote the environment.
At the Oct. 15 Grove City Council meeting, councilman Ted Berry introduced legislation that would set aside $25,000 from the city’s general fund for an electric vehicle charging station grant program.
“We have to look to new technologies to be good stewards of the land,” said Berry.
The goal of the program is to encourage businesses and individuals to install charging stations for electric vehicles to create a greener environment for the city. Commercially zoned properties or multi-family homes within the city limits would be eligible to apply for a reimbursement through the grant program.
According to the legislation, for each approved charging station, the city would reimburse at the rate of $500 for a residential installation and $2,000 for a commercial installation with a maximum amount of $4,000 per location. All commercial locations that utilize this grant program would have to provide the charging station free for the public.
“This is an effort to remove barriers for people to become more environmentally friendly,” said Berry. “This would set an example to residents as well as the rest of the country.”
If approved by council, Grove City would be the first city in the state to offer such a program.
Brad Chadwell, innovation and technology manager with American Electric Power, spoke in favor of the program at the council meeting. He said electric vehicles are economical, easy to maintain and emit no tailpipe emissions.
According to Chadwell, there are three levels of chargers for electric vehicles. Level one would require the vehicle to charge overnight. Each increased level would mean less time charging. He said the residential installation of a mid-level charging station would be approximately $1,200. The cost may be more for a commercial property if it chose to install a pedestal.
Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said he believes this grant program is the right thing to do, but said it needs more work.
“I would rather have another piece to this,” said Stage.
The mayor asked Chadwell if he and AEP could recommend grants or different funding options for the city instead of using general fund dollars.
Chadwell said he would investigate the matter.
Berry said this program is an initial step to change behaviors for the betterment of the environment.
“It’s a small project but we are making a dent,” he said.
Council agreed to explore additional funding options and discuss the legislation again at the Dec. 3 council meeting.