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Ogdensburg library, store show interest in car charging stations

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OGDENSBURG — Two potential locations for electric car charging stations have been identified in the city, according to Greater Ogdensburg Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sandra M. Porter.

The Ogdensburg Public Library and Walgreens have identified themselves as potentially interested in setting up charging stations, though the process is very much in the beginning stage.

National Grid secured a $1 million state grant that will establish 67 charging stations across the company’s service territory. The first station was built last week in Colonie, near Albany.

Businesses that install the charging stations would sign a four-year lease with National Grid, according to the program’s guidelines.

For the Chamber of Commerce, the grant is seen as a way to attract more tourists, especially from Canada. Chamber officials have noted the bulk of electric cars coming through the city are driven by Canadian visitors.

“I hope we do get some around here,” Ms. Porter said. “It shows that we’re forward thinking.”

Wayne L. Miller, library executive director, said he sees participation in the program as part of the library’s larger goal of “generating economic redevelopment in the community.”

“We see our location, between the waterfront and the downtown core, as a good location,” he said.

But the program isn’t a sure thing.

Mr. Miller said installing the charging station would cost roughly $6,500, with the library expected to pitch in 10 percent.

Additionally, anyone who sets up a charging station would have to assume liability and pay the electricity costs.

While charging a vehicle is cheap — essentially $1 per hour — it could add up fast.

The question businesses will have to ask, Mr. Miller said, is whether the benefit outweighs the cost.

Walgreens executives couldn’t be reached to comment.

Business concerns aside, the value to the community is clear, Mr. Miller said.

“We do have a lot of tourism from Ottawa. So it makes sense to have the ability for a visitor from Ottawa to be able to charge their car,” he said.

Walgreens and the library are in the fact-finding stage, Ms. Porter said, but the drive fits well with the chamber’s desire to build charging stations in advance of the anticipated increase in popularity of electric vehicles.

City officials had explored the possibility of tapping the National Grid program to build charging stations on municipal property and supply free electricity but learned it was illegal. The chamber has been leading the initiative to build the stations since last month.

Ms. Porter said she hopes to see more businesses getting involved in making Ogdensburg an electric vehicle-friendly city.

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