FREDERICKTOWN — Electric vehicle owners will soon have the ability to charge their vehicles in downtown Fredericktown while shopping, engaging in recreation and conducting other business in the heart of the village.
Fredericktown Village Council passed unanimously a resolution Tuesday night authorizing the installation of two electric vehicle charging stations downtown.
The vote followed nine months of work between village officials, Fredericktown Chevrolet and General Motors, in an effort to bring the charging stations to Fredericktown. The resolution received a full three readings before its passage.
Councilman Ryan Shoemaker, who spearheaded the project on the village’s side, said he felt proud to see the project move forward.
“I am very pleased with Council’s forward-thinking vote tonight to install EV charging stations in the Village of Fredericktown,” Shoemaker, chairman of the village’s steering committee, said in a statement.
“Our partnership with Fredericktown Chevrolet in this endeavor will be an important step in preparing Fredericktown for the future.”
One charging station will go in the parking lot behind the municipal building, located at 2 E. Sandusky Street; the other will go in the parking lot next to Kokosing Park (where the splash pad opened last year), located at 69 N. Main St. Each station will have two plugs.
“These will be Level 2 charging stations and will be compatible with 100% of the electric vehicles currently being manufactured,” Shoemaker said in an interview last month.
The parking spots where the EV charging stations will be installed will remain open to all, Shoemaker said, noting that there was a concern that some parking spaces would already be taken away on Main Street as a result of the village’s streetscape project.
“Right now, we’re not gonna necessarily designate it as ‘only EV charging,’ so we don’t lose parking,” Shoemaker said. “Until there are more EV cars, it’s gonna be open to everyone.”
Council’s vote Tuesday night gives the village the go-ahead to install the charging stations. Shoemaker said he is unsure when exactly they will become accessible to the public.
“Fredericktown Chevrolet is currently in possession of the EV charging stations,” Shoemaker said. “Now that Council has passed the resolution, we will be moving forward with scheduling the installation of the units with the electrician.”
Fredericktown is now set to become the third municipality in Knox County to welcome EV charging stations.
The Village of Gambier and City of Mount Vernon have both installed charging stations in recent years through an AEP grant program. Gambier’s two-plug station on Brooklyn Street was installed in early 2020; Mount Vernon’s two-plug station inside the Municipal Parking Garage, next to City Hall, was installed in late 2021.
THE PARTNERSHIP: The stations will be brought to Fredericktown through a partnership between General Motors, Fredericktown Chevrolet and the village.
GM will provide the stations at no cost, as part of its Dealer Community Charging Program, which is meant to “expand charging access in communities, including underserved rural and urban areas where EV charging is often limited or non-existent,” according to the company’s website.
The village will pay an estimated $10,000 for the installation of the stations, which are expected to last 10 years (this money will come from the village’s general fund). Fredericktown Chevrolet will cover all maintenance, repair and networking costs during that time.
The village plans to assume responsibility for maintaining, repairing or replacing the EV charging stations after the 10-year agreement expires, Shoemaker said last month. The village also plans to monetize the stations, in order to cover electricity and installation expenses.
“Although the details for determining the initial cost structure for the chargers still needs to be determined, the village would want to ensure that the pricing is set in a manner that covers our electricity costs, plus generates a small revenue that can help offset our installation expenses,” Shoemaker said.
“We do not want to set the pricing in a way that would discourage their use since the purpose is to attract new customers to shop and dine in our downtown, promoting our local economy.”
THE PURPOSE: Most electrical vehicle owners have at-home charging stations, Fredericktown Chevrolet General Manager Joe Walsh noted.
By adding public stations downtown, village leaders are hoping to attract EV users who will participate in commerce or recreation while charging their vehicles.
“The people that are gonna be downtown or out and around charging them are gonna be in commerce, visiting the stores or working, or something along those lines – more than parking it for the night,” Walsh told Council during its Sept. 19 meeting.
Shoemaker, who is also an Area Development Foundation board member, views the village’s EV initiative is part of a larger movement to revitalize downtown Fredericktown.
The village’s streetscape project, which will include newly paved streets, new sidewalks, decorative street lamps and traffic signals, matching benches, trashcans, and landscaping, is expected to commence in 2023.
Several downtown businesses have recently invested in their buildings through the ADF’s facade improvement program (Fredericktown received over $100,000 of the $270,000 available, more than any other municipality).
Kokosing Park, with its splash pad and public seating area, has brought recreation back to the heart of the village.
The village has installed an electronic messaging board outside its municipal building, to keep residents updated on dates and times for meetings and events. The village has also renovated its 107-year-old water tower, which is visible from State Route 13.
“The addition of the EV charging stations will just add to the positive momentum Fredericktown is experiencing,” Shoemaker said last month.
Besides, Intel is coming. Shoemaker said the tech giant’s decision to invest in Licking County – along with other commercial investments currently occurring across central Ohio – represents an opportunity for Fredericktown.
“With Intel breaking ground and a new $4 billion battery plant in Marysville on the way, Ohio’s landscape is changing and we believe it will be a competition among municipalities to attract new industries that may follow these large companies,” Shoemaker said.
“This is why we believe that the EV charging stations will not only promote our local economy by attracting new customers to shop and dine in our downtown, but it is a piece of a bigger puzzle that may make Fredericktown an appealing place for new businesses.”
Fredericktown Chevrolet Owner John Walsh warned Council this fall that electric vehicles will soon become far more prevalent in society.
“There are predictions that in a very short period of time, 20% of the cars that are being sold are gonna be electric,” John Walsh told Council at its Sept. 19 meeting. “And I know we’re probably at 2%-4% right now, but they’re talking 20% in just a couple years.”
By participating in this program, he said, Fredericktown will be positioning itself for the future.
“It’s putting a toe in the water, so that as things continue to evolve and continue to develop, you’re kind of on the cutting edge of it,” John Walsh said. “So that then, as we continue to move forward and things continue to progress, you’re in a better position to know what to do, how to respond, how to react.”