Car charging could come to libraries, officials say

County seeks grant programs for county lot installation


While in preliminary stages, Suffolk County is researching the possibility of installing electric car charging stations in library parking lots that would allow county employees to charge their cars during off hours.

“It’s very preliminary,” said Suffolk County Legislature presiding officer Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue). “The Shared Services staff is looking into a network of vehicle charging stations and grants,” Calarco said. “They did research on library systems, as they have a patron base during certain hours, but in the off hours county employees could charge their cars overnight. We’re conducting a survey in creating interest in a system.”

Calarco mentioned a number of grant programs available the county could take advantage of for the possible installations.

“It’s a matter of crafting a program and making an application for grants to see if it will work,” Calarco said. “The first step is determining if there is interest from the libraries, so that’s where we are at in the process.”

Most of the county vehicles are hybrids right now, he said. “There’s a state law that requires us to start phasing in a large portion of our fleet to electric, so how do we accomplish that?” Calarco said. “It wouldn’t be feasible for county employees to drive to a central location—we’d lose a lot of man hours, so working with the libraries, they’re all across the county and provide a great opportunity to leverage their needs with our goals, which is the point of Shared Services.”

Bayport-Blue Point Library director Mike Firestone, who is overseeing the renovation of the former St. Ursula Center building on Middle Road in Blue Point, said the deadline for the library survey was May 5. “I did fill it out,” he said. “I think we would wholeheartedly support a project like this countywide. I think it helps everybody.”

While the parking lots of the Patchogue-Medford Library (village-owned) and the Carnegie Teen Center (county-owned) are municipal lots and not under the library’s aegis, library director Danielle Paisley said they would definitely partner with a municipality.

“I did fill out the county survey to say we would partner with any municipalities to add charging stations,” Paisley told the Advance. “However, with the new Medford Library, we would consider working with the county to add charging stations at that lot, and we’re about a year away from that. I think most libraries would be interested, especially if there is funding, and with the push for electric cars, having these electric charging stations is a two-fold win.”

Patchogue mayor Paul Pontieri was open to helping out.

“With all the initiatives out there, especially with President Biden’s plan to replace the government’s fleet with electric cars assembled in the U.S. and in line with trustee Joseph Keyes’s suggestion to replace our entire sedan fleet with 15 electric cars, it makes sense to put a charging station in cooperation with the library,” he said. “We initially thought in back of the Patchogue Theatre and the idea to put it near the library makes a lot of sense. We’ll speak to Johnson Controls to make use of these spaces, whether in cooperation with the library or the county.”

Johnson Controls conducted a comprehensive energy audit on the village’s facilities; the village just signed a contract with them to facilitate their suggestions.

There are currently 63 libraries in the Suffolk Cooperative Library System.


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