Youngstown to Consider Applying for Additional EV Charging Stations

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — City Council’s finance committee on Tuesday recommended legislation that could secure up to $650,000 in state grant money to fund the installation of new electric-vehicle charging stations downtown.

An ordinance set to go before Council this evening would empower the Board of Control to apply for and enter into grant agreements with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to support the installation of two DC fast charging stations. 

Deputy Director of Public Works Charles Shasho said the units are high-end and are able to fully charge a vehicle in under 30 minutes. He said the grant money would cover 100% of the costs for equipment and the installation of two units, each equipped with two charging ports. Thus, the two units are able to charge four vehicles.

“We went for the more expensive units because of lower operating costs and usage,” he said.  

The charging stations would be placed in the city parking lot next to the Municipal Courthouse, which is also used for handicap parking during events at the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre. The stations would be open to the public, and charging fees have yet to be determined, Shasho said.

“The fees would be enough for us to break even,” he said. 

No timetable was provided as to when the fast-chargers would be installed or when any funding would be announced. 

There are no matching funds required for the project, according to the legislation. The grants are made available through the Diesel Mitigation Trust Fund program. The applications must be submitted by the end of January, Shasho said. 

This money would be in addition to a previous OEPA grant awarded to the city.

In August, the city’s Board of Control approved accepting $60,000 in grant money from the OEPA to install four Level 2 electric-vehicle charging stations at two locations downtown.  

Level 2 stations take longer – approximately eight hours – to fully charge a vehicle, as opposed to 30 minutes with a DC fast charger. 

That project entails the installation of two stations at the Kress parking lot, next to the Seventh District Court of Appeals building on West Federal Street. Two additional stations are planned for city-owned property on the corner of West Federal and Fifth Avenue, next to the fire station.

Shasho told the committee that installation of these chargers could begin sometime this summer.

Council’s finance committee also recommended legislation that would pay FirstEnergy Corp. $57,945 to remove steel street light posts and fixtures along Front Street. The poles and lamps would be replaced with city-owned LED lights as part of the downtown Smart2 project. 

Shasho said the new lights and posts would be uniform with the lighting recently installed on Fifth Avenue as part of the Smart2 project. 

The finance committee also recommended that Council enter into a contract not to exceed $75,000 with Hunter Morrison for consultant services related to planning and development initiatives.   

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