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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Council Report: Electric charging stations plan for city

At Tuesday’s work session the Fort Worth City Council heard an informal report regarding the city’s role and participation in the network of electric vehicle charging stations in Fort Worth and how the city is working with private industry.

There are 71 public charging stations in Fort Worth being managed by private sector companies. These sites are located at retail outlets, such as West Bend and Shops at Clear Fork, along with some at some Walgreens and Tom Thumb stores.

A growing focus is on the installation of charging stations in multi-family dwellings and workplaces, such as UNT Health Science Center, several car dealerships, and hotels offering convenience to their employees, visitors and residents.

In August 2015, Transportation and Public Works staff initiated a short term pilot project with Revitalize Charging Solutions, Inc. (RCS) to install an electric vehicle charging station at 401 West 13th St., utilizing two parking spaces to determine the viability of wider use on city property. The pilot project at the site was discontinued due to under-utilization and the parking spaces were reclaimed for general employee use.

In February 2017, however, the city council approved an extended pilot program through the Economic Development Department and entered into a new agreement with RCS for an electric vehicle charging station at the Guinn School, 1150 S. Freeway. The agreement included an initial term of 12 months, with installation of the charging station and ongoing maintenance being provided by RCS.

Because the city charges no fees for parking at the Guinn School and electrical usage was to be reimbursed by RCS, the agreement had no financial impact on the city’s budget. The agreement was renewed for two additional terms ending on Feb. 28, 2019.

Recently, RCS requested to expand its business to seven locations owned by the city. However, the city is required to charge fair market value for use of its property or establish a public purpose. So a public bid process would have to be put in place in which RCS is eligible to participate.

“We think that’s probably the most appropriate way to see what other interest is out there,” said Roger Venables, Assistant Director for City of Fort Worth Property Management. “We would work with the existing operator, but we need to see what applications need to be addressed on city property.”

Meanwhile, discussions are ongoing with RCS regarding an extension of the agreement at the Guinn School.

“At the end of last year we began to see its usage go up, so we decided to continue it,” Venables said.

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