WAWARSING – "It's the thing of the future," said Wawarsing supervisor Leonard Distel during a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new Lippman Park electric vehicle charging station last Thursday, September 15.
"We understand it's about helping a community, not just for now but for our future," added Ulster County executive Mike Hein, who was in attendance alongside town, county and regional officials that included Hugo Jule of Sustainable Hudson Valley, U.C. Department of the Environment coordinator Amanda LaValle, and Kathleen Nolan, senior research director of Catskill Mountainkeeper. "The folks that have electric vehicles utilize [phone] apps to locate charging stations."
Hein explained how the county had recently installed a number of station throughout Kingston, building up a network.
"This is so exciting, combining the electric car charging station and the amenities offered at Lippman Park to make it a destination point for travelers and an asset to residents," Nolan said.
Catskill Mountainkeeper, a grassroots advocacy agency that was instrumental in the state's fight against fracking, is picking up the tab for a one-year subscription to the charging station software, as well as the electric costs incurred by those utilizing the free-to-plug station.
The station itself was purchased thorough a $50,000 grant the town received from the state, with approximately $10,000 used for the station and its installation.
Showing off a VW Golf, Jule noted that a quick jolt from the station would take about half an hour and bring the car to 100 percent charge, providing it was only drained a bit (and providing for about 30 miles of driving time). A full charge would take about three hours, he said, allowing the electric car a range of potentially 128 miles.
Everyone agreed that such a wait could allow a driver time to partake in some of Lippman Park's offerings, including its trails or a picnic.
Having a chance to discuss charging stations with Hein, Wawarsing councilman Dan Johnson added after the meeting, allowed him to realize that the county installed the stations not only to encourage sustainability and increase tourism, but also save taxpayer funds by lowering the county's bottom line; driving electric cars saves considerable gas money. It was something, he added, Wawarsing may look into in the future.
"We're ahead of every town in Ulster County," Distel added, pointing out how, at least in his eyes, Wawarsing was a trendsetter.
The supervisor further noted how the town will be installing a five acre solar farm at its transfer station soon.