Mancos seeks grant to install car charging station

Wednesday, June 20, 2018 8:19 PM
Sarah Kelly charges her 2017 Nissan Leaf electric car at one of four charging stations in the parking lot of Mercy Regional Medical Center in Durango. Mancos is applying for a grant to install its own charging station at Boyle Park.

In its meeting Wednesday, the Mancos town board voted to apply for a grant that would allow the town to install a charging station for electric vehicles at Boyle Park.

Town Administrator Heather Alvarez asked the board for permission to apply for a $9,000 Charge Ahead Colorado grant, through the Durango-based nonprofit 4CORE. The grant would cover part of the cost of installing one of three kinds of charging stations.

The board voted unanimously, with Mayor Queenie Barz absent, to approve the application, and chose the most expensive option: a solar-powered charging station that would cost the town an additional $20,445 if the grant is approved.

Despite the installation’s cost, several trustees said they felt it was important to bring more electric vehicles to Mancos.

“I think it’s a great political move,” Mayor Pro Tem Fred Brooks said.

Trustee Ed Hallam added that he felt installing a solar-powered station would be the most environment- friendly option and would save the town money in the long run because it would be self-sustaining.

If installed, Mancos’ charging station would be the only one of its kind between Durango and the Utah border. Hallam said it would likely bring more tourists to town, and Alvarez said similar installations have caused rentals of electric cars to increase in Durango.

Alvarez recommended installing the station at Boyle Park because the nearby Town Hall has enough of the necessary equipment to allow an installation without a construction project. She couldn’t give long-term cost estimates for the station’s maintenance.

“I think it’s going to be a learning curve for all of us,” she said.

The grant application deadline is June 21, but Alvarez said she wasn’t sure when she would find out whether the town has received it. The money to install the station will come out of the town’s general fund reserves. Alvarez said she would bring the issue before the board again if she doesn’t get the grant.

“It’s a really progressive thing to do,” Trustee Cindy Simpson said after voting for the application. “It’s how the world is headed, and why not get in on it?”

The decision came after the board approved the town’s 2017 financial audit, which painted a rosy picture of Mancos’ finances. The town is solvent and has plenty of money in reserves.

Other actionAlso during Wednesday’s meeting, the town board:

Held a joint workshop with the Mancos Creative District.Heard concerns from residents about weed control in Boyle Park and Durango residents using the Mancos water dock.Discussed the need to plan for water restrictions over the summer to avoid having to close the Mancos water dock. The topic will be addressed in detail at the board’s next meeting, on June 27.Discussed possible changes to the town’s street closure policy, in order to save on equipment and labor costs.Approved a change in ownership structure for the Blend LLC retail marijuana store.Renewed the liquor license for Olio restaurant.Renewed the retail marijuana license for New Millenium Wholesale LLC.