Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Coming To Downtown Warsaw

One of the electric vehicle charging stations coming to downtown Warsaw this year will be on the north side of the old county courthouse. The other one will be in the city parking lot south of Expressions. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.

Two electric vehicle charging stations will be coming to downtown Warsaw, tentatively by the spring.

At the Traffic Safety Commission meeting Wednesday, City Planner Justin Taylor said the city applied for an electric vehicle charging grant from the Michiana Area Council Of Governments (MACOG).

“This was part of the Volkswagen (Clean Air Act) settlement. We received a grant for $18,000, which equates to two charging stations. We also received a donation from a corporate sponsor in the amount of $10,000 to install these charging stations,” he said.

Two locations in the downtown area were selected based on a process of elimination. Taylor said he also hoped the charging stations would attract people to downtown.

“These two locations were vetted through NIPSCO and there’s a need to have a certain amount of amperage and different criteria. The spots have to be ADA accessible, so by process of elimination, we’ve arrived at two locations that we think would be great for downtown businesses and downtown in general,” Taylor said.

One charging station will be to the south of Expressions in the city-owned parking lot near South Buffalo Street. The second station will be on the north side of the old county courthouse.

“We’ve got to look at this as a way of accommodating electric vehicles that are already on the road. We’re not taking away parking spaces, we’re accommodating a mode of transportation that (is becoming) more and more popular, especially in the next five to 10 years. Every major car manufacturer is creating a line of electric vehicles now, and we’re going to see them everywhere. This is just a way to attract people with electric vehicles to our downtown,” Taylor said.

As part of the grant, the electric charging will be offered for free for the first two years “and that will be for two hours of charging,” he said. Anyone who charges their vehicle for more than two hours will be billed for that overage. After the two years of the grant, Taylor said the city can leave it as free or re-evaluate it and the city could charge for the electric service.

County Council President Jack Wilhite asked if the city ultimately ends up with the electric bill for the “free” vehicle charging.

“Yeah, so it would be like a street light, that kind of bill. The city has many meters through NIPSCO, so it would be the same as that,” Taylor responded.

Wilhite asked what happens if a person without an electric vehicle parks in the charging parking space. Taylor said the space is intended for electric vehicles so it would be clearly marked. He said they could go the route of ticketing people if they park in the charging space and don’t have an electric vehicle, but he would rather just clearly mark the space.

“I think the choice of the north side of the courthouse is a good one because, after this came up on the agenda, I was kind of circling and watching and that’s not utilized very much over there. It’s a good choice,” Councilwoman Cindy Dobbins said.

Traffic Administrator Lance Grubbs asked if five parking spots would be eliminated to accommodate the electric vehicle charging stations.

“We’re enhancing these parking spaces. We’re trying to avoid saying we’re eliminating some parking downtown, but we’re enhancing them to accommodate electric vehicles,” Taylor said.

Wilhite asked if they were taking a total of nine parking spaces and making them into four.

“No, no, no. These are spaces that are still being used. There’s additional striping on the north side of the courthouse that looks like it would be going in, that I believe wasn’t there before,” Taylor said.

Assistant City Planner Bekah Schrag said at the courthouse, they’re taking three spots and turning them into two electric vehicle spots. There has to be an isle in the middle for it to be ADA accessible.

In the parking lot south of Expressions, she said they are transitioning one of the ADA spots to an electric vehicle spot. And then one of the spots that’s already striped will become a new electric vehicle spot. Some of the ADA spots will have to be rearranged.

“So my point was, we’re not really losing five (parking spots)?” Wilhite asked.

“No, it’s five spaces total and then we’re going to have four EV parking spaces and there’s just that striping,” Taylor answered.

Grubbs asked, “Do we see the trend of people going to electric vehicles?”

Nationally, yes, Taylor said. Wilhite said that all the major car dealers announced that by 2035 that’s all they will make.

Warsaw Police Sgt. Lewis Fuller said the WPD has some hybrids.

Taylor said, hopefully, the charging stations will be installed by the spring.