Electric cars are no longer a product of science-fiction — and they need places to charge, which is why Oakdale City Council members approved a new parking lot project at the council meeting, Monday, Nov. 19, which will include electric vehicle charging stations.
The new parking lot, taking shape at the northwest corner of E Street and North Third Avenue, where formerly an old church once stood, represents a major investment on the behalf of the city, not only monetarily but also with the company ChargePoint.
ChargePoint, one of the fastest growing electric vehicle charging companies, convinced city staff that the future was now and Oakdale needed charging stations if they wanted to be part of that future.
According to ChargePoint, EV charging helps the environment as well as businesses and drivers. Driving an EV can cut greenhouse gas emissions in half or more.
The city was impressed enough with ChargePoint’s presentation to agree to their plan.
The charging stations are currently under construction and expected to be completed this month. ChargePoint’s charging stations represent a significant investment into the downtown area with an estimated value between $200,000 and $300,000.
Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer called the project, “Many phases of a potential downtown Renaissance” as many projects are slated to revitalize the downtown area.
The current city parking lot has 39 parking spaces. The improvements will bring the total to 48 or 49 parking spaces with four to six of those spaces accommodating EV charging stations. The improvements to the parking lot will also include aesthetics and functionality.
The city received six bids for the project. The low bid was awarded to United Pavement Maintenance Inc. in the amount of $261,909.31, which will be funded through the Economic Development.
Councilmember Rich Murdoch praised staff for their due diligence in bringing in the project under frugal standards, saying, “The staff has done a great job of budgeting,” but asked if additional lighting could be considered for safety purposes as that area is typically a little dark.
Whitemyer responded that staff would certainly look into the possibility of additional lighting while remaining sensitive to the budget concerns.