Downtown Frankfort is known for maintaining an historic charm that resembles the late-19th and early-20th centuries. But the village could soon be adding a bit of 21st century technology a little ahead of its time.
The village's Departmental Operations Committee recommended Wednesday that the village look into installing an electric car charging station, not costing more than $2,500, at either the or old Fox Lumber parking lots. That recommendation now will go before the Village Board for approval at an upcoming meeting.
The idea for installing a charging station came from Mayor Jim Holland, who said he sees the station as a great marketing tool for the village, especially with local car dealer selling the Chevy Volt electric car.
"In my mind, we have a car dealer in our town that is featuring an electric car," Holland said Wednesday. "And they're a good citizen in our community. ... We have a downtown that we want to promote, and this is a way to get some publicity that Frankfort has an electric car charging station."
The charging station would be free to use, given how inexpensive the electricity would be compared with the fees and costs of creating a system where drivers would have to pay to charge their cars, Holland said.
This wouldn't be Frankfort's only electric car charging station. Phillips Chevrolet also is building one, but it would only be used for the dealership's electric vehicles, said Village Administrator Jerry Ducay.
Assistant Village Administrator Rob Piscia said the cost of buying a charger and installing it could be supplemented by a grant from the City of Chicago through a company called 350Green, which specializes in developing electric vehicle charging networks. Because the village wouldn't be charging drivers to use the station, the company, which in the past has recouped installation costs from those charges, would contract with the village to service and maintain the station over seven years, Piscia added.
Right now, the village only wants to create one charging station. However, if electric cars become more prevalent, officials might look at adding more stations, Holland said.