The Forest Park Village Council voted unanimously during the June 26 meeting to approve contracts necessary to install a new, two-plug electric vehicle charging station between two parking spaces near the southeast corner of Constitution Court. 

The council approved a five-year contract to lease the charging station from Campbell, California-based ChargePoint for $2,400 a year, which Village Administrator Moses Amidei recommended to give Forest Park flexibility as the technology changes. Commissioners also agreed to pay La Grange-based Lyons & Pinner Electric Companies $7,700 to install the charging station and the necessary infrastructure to connect it to the nearby utility box, and pay Cicero-based Robert R. Andreas & Sons Inc. $4,965 to replace the sidewalk pavers that will have to be removed in the process. Forest Park is using the $7,500 grant from the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and ComEd and using $17,165 from the American Rescue Plan Act federal stimulus funding to cover the rest.

EV charger company 350 Green LLC installed a charging station at the south end of Constitution Court’s parking meter median back in the early 2010s. But the company has since gone out of business, and by the time the village took out the charger early this spring, it hadn’t been functional for years. 

The village originally planned to simply put a new charging station on the same spot, and use a combination of several different grants to cover most of the costs. But while it secured the ComEd funding in April 2022, it hasn’t been able to secure the Invest in Cook County Grant, and Forest Park was above the income limits for other grants.

This led Amidei to propose scaling back the plans and moving the charger closer to the existing utility box at the southeast corner of Constitution Court. Leasing the charging station instead of buying it further lowered the cost. After the council approved the changes in late February, Amidei went out to find contractors.

He previously told the council that, while Forest Park would pay the electric bill up front, drivers will need to pay to use the charger.

In a written comment emailed to the village, resident Chris McCoy wrote that he owned an electric car for two years and that “knowing where there are chargers available for public use heavily influences where I shop and dine.”

“Being able to charge while running errands, having dinner, buying the new pair of shoes is a win-win,” he wrote. “Adding this amenity to the Forest Park downtown area would make a fun destination even more enticing for EV drivers whose numbers are growing by decent amounts.”

Commissioner Jessica Voogd, who previously expressed support for putting in the new charger, echoed McCoy’s comments, while also mentioning that she believes installing the original EV charger “really put us on the map with the surrounding communities.”

“It’s kind of win-win,” she said. “When people are charging, they will inevitably be visiting our shops and restaurants.”