Rosendale to offer free charging station for electric cars

The Town of Rosendale has decided to move ahead with plans to install a charging station for electric vehicles (EVs) at the rear of the municipal parking lot in the Main Street business district, behind the Rosendale Theatre, on town-owned property adjoining Willow Kiln Park. At its December 7 meeting, the Town Board voted to submit an application to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)’s electric vehicle rebate program. According to councilwoman Jen Metzger, the state program will provide $8,000 in grant funding for each of two electrical ports for charging EVs.

Under the terms of the funding program, the municipality must provide a 20 percent match, but Metzger said that the entire match could be made up in in-kind services. The Rosendale Highway Department will create two new parking spaces dedicated to the charging station and mount the pier needed to house the electrical ports. And the electricians’ union, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 363, agreed to install the wiring for the charging station on a pro bono basis, thanks to the involvement of IBEW member Jack Walsh, who is married to Rosendale town supervisor Jeanne Walsh.

The installation work was performed “as part of the union’s apprenticeship program: a program that provides job training through community service,” Metzger told the New Paltz Times on December 11. “The Local actually did the electrical work at the site yesterday morning with two trainees — one from Rosendale and one from New Paltz.” She quoted Jack Walsh as saying, “The union apprenticeship program not only teaches trainees the craft, but through community service, they give back to their community and can see the benefits of it directly.” “IBEW Local 363 has also done the electrical work for the Rosendale Street Fest for years through this apprenticeship program,” Metzger added.

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The councilwoman also confirmed that the Rosendale Chamber of Commerce had agreed to take responsibility for paying the electric bill for the charging station, so that it can be used to recharge automobile batteries for free. She noted that the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce pays for the power at the nine other EV charging stations already established in the county. “This project represents a great partnership of local government, local business and labor, and is a win/win for both the local economy and the environment,” Metzger said.

Committing to the charging station was the fourth in a series of measures that the town is taking in order to be officially designated a Clean Energy Community by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which would qualify Rosendale to apply for additional state grant funding for sustainable energy projects. Having previously adopted use of the state’s Unified Solar Permit and agreed to send the town’s building inspectors for energy code training, the Town Board adopted an Energy Benchmarking Policy in November. Networked software installed to monitor energy use at town-owned buildings can be used to track usage and costs at the charging station as well, Metzger said.

Supervisor Walsh estimated that it would take about three weeks to get the charging station up and running, once the DEC had processed the application and drawn up a grant contract with the town. The two new parking spaces will be restricted to use by EVs needing a charge, and there will be a time limit on parking there. Visitors to Rosendale will be able to find the charging station via a variety of mobile phone apps tailored toward EV owners, Metzger added.

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