Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

The Future of Driving

City considers chargers for electric vehicles

By William Kincaid
CELINA - City councilors continue to push Celina as a destination location on the vanguard, advancing legislation that would usher in electric vehicle charging stations and allow officials to apply for more than $125,000 in grants for kayak launch pads and pickle ball courts.
Councilors at Monday's meeting gave first reading to an ordinance authorizing mayor Jeff Hazel to enter into a five-year, $24,000 lease agreement with ChargePoint to install, monitor and maintain two public charge points on city property.
Anyone with an electric vehicle would be permitted to charge his or her vehicle at either charge point. It would take up to four hours to charge each vehicle fully, city electric distribution superintendent Mike Mertz said.
Under the deal, ChargePoint would essentially buy electricity from the city which it would then sell to ChargePoint customers, mayor Jeff Hazel said.
"We would know how much we would have to charge to cover our electric costs so they have that ability to charge what they want so they can recoup something from it as well," Hazel said.
Councilman June Scott asked if the city would receive any financial compensation for hosting the two charge points.
The city would be compensated for its electricity but no other costs, Hazel said. However, the endeavor would serve as an economic tool, attracting people to the city who would support local business, Hazel said.
"People that have electric cars typically have a higher salary ratio and they tend to spend more where they go," he said. "There would be a definite element of a return to the community in general, not necessarily to the city's coffers."
If authorized by councilors on final reading, the charge points would be installed at the South Main Street parking lot to allow people to park and visit local businesses and the other near the hot water hole for people to use while visiting the Bryson Park District.
City officials can take the lead, but for electric vehicle charging to really take hold locally private industry must get onboard too, Hazel said.
"While it can be beneficial, particularly in the parks or maybe downtown, private industry is the one that ultimately needs to install this for their folks," Hazel said. "We've got nearly 600 businesses within a mile of Celina, some pretty large ones. Tri Star is also looking at putting some charge points out at the school as part of some of their programs."
Councilors on Monday night passed a resolution authorizing Hazel to apply for a $75,000 reimbursement grant through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources's paddling enhancement program. It was passed as an emergency measure after councilors suspended the rules.
The grant, if awarded, would cover the entire cost of the project.
City officials plan to install Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant kayak/canoe lunch pads at Pullman Bay and the hot water hole within in the Bryson Park District along Lake Shore Drive.
Councilors also passed to second reading a resolution authorizing Hazel to apply for up to $51,000. through ODNR's NatureWorks program for the creation of pickle ball courts at Eastview Park. The grant would cover 75% of the project cost.
"We're looking at the old tennis courts over behind Montgomery Field, behind that restroom facility," Hazel said. "We can get four pickle ball courts in there."
Councilors welcomed the idea of pickle ball courts.
"I just want them to know, it is in the works," Scott said, noting many residents have contacted him in support of the city's installing pickle ball courts.
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