Marietta may add two electric car charging stations

MARIETTA — In an effort to attract environmentally conscious travelers downtown, Marietta city officials are considering installing two electric car charging stations at the Armory.

The city was approached by Chip Pickering about donating two stations behind the Armory recently and further discussions with local environmentalist David Ballentyne have moved the discussion forward.

“I collected a lot of data and I’ve dealt with the Pickering organization in past projects and also got information from them,” said Ballentyne Tuesday at a council committee meeting. “One of the questions I asked Pickering is who is in this business, what do they offer and how much do they cost? I found out that any electric car owner will have an online map of where the charging stations are. They will be looking in their range of travel to get here, charge and get back home again.”

But what would it cost the city if someone pulled in and hooked up to a city-owned charging station and who would foot that bill, council members wondered.

Nick Arnold, an employee of Pickering Associates, explained that a full charge of an electric car would cost $2 on average and estimated that the charging stations would be used 30 times per month.

Councilman Steve Thomas asked about high water concerns.

“Typically these charging stations… if you’re concerned about safety in high water you trip the breaker,” Arnold replied.

City Engineer Joe Tucker further clarified that Pickering would be donating the two stations and that if council would accept said donation that the city’s utilities maintenance crew would take care of installation.

“Being the second ward councilman, if this is getting more people into the business section, I’m all for it,” said Councilman Mike McCauley.

Further funding discussions of the electricity costs will be continued in a month after Tucker is able to connect with the Ohio Historical Preservation Office about the proposal of a few solar panels to possibly be installed on the flat tops of the southern towers at the Armory.

Ballentyne also proposed options for funding the electricity costs via donations from sponsors, or through repurposing old city parking meters to charge for the use of the parking spaces upon which the charging stations would sit.

Sarah Arnold, president of Marietta Main Street, said the city could see a return on investment in the form of more revenue from sales taxes and bed tax from those with electric cars shopping and sleeping overnight in Marietta.

“Absolutely Main Street would help promote,” she said. “The types of people who have electric cars are the ones that believe in shopping local and eating local. It’s a goal of Main Street to have more sustainable options and we would definitely market this.”

Tucker also submitted to council for consideration available grant funding through the state for the project which would require an electric vehicle readiness plan and marketing plan to qualify for consideration.

More detailed information can be found at www.cleanfuelsohio.gov/ev-readiness-plan.

The goal of the city is to install some type of charging station for electric vehicles by the close of this year. The topic will again be discussed in May.

Other business

* Council moved to charge nonprofits $25 for use of the Armory lawn for events and for-profit entities $100 with a to-be-determined flat electric fee in addition. Council will introduce the charges for legislation at its next regular meeting today.

* Tucker spoke to council about the upcoming bid process for materials and labor necessary for the construction of diesel exhaust removal systems in the city fire stations. Qualified bids will be accepted at City Hall through May 8. The cost estimate for the project is $128,700, to be paid for through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Association.

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