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32 spaces in Gainesville's parking deck may go to electric vehicles
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The Main Street parking deck in downtown Gainesville Monday, Feb. 28, 2022. City officials in Gainesville are expected to approve funding from Georgia Power to build 32 electric vehicle charging stations in the parking deck. - photo by Scott Rogers

Drivers in downtown Gainesville may soon be able to charge their electric vehicles while they shop and eat around the square. 

Gainesville city officials are expected to approve funding from Georgia Power to build 32 electric vehicle charging stations in the Main Street parking deck. There would be up to four spaces on each of the first three floors and up to 16 spaces on the fourth floor, according to the initial site plan from Georgia Power. A few additional spaces would be added, the site plans show.

 The city will start with four spaces, Assistant City Manager Angela Shepard said, and Gainesville Renaissance would have 16 for its residents. 

Georgia Power would provide a little over $158,300 for the charging stations as part of its Make Ready Program. These would be the first electric vehicle charging stations in the downtown area. 

“(The resolution) is allowing them to take funds from this program and invest in infrastructure to install electric vehicle charging stations,” Shepard said to Gainesville City Council at its work session Thursday, Feb. 24. 

There would be a fee to use the charging stations, but the city has not determined the cost at this stage, she said. 

The city was approached by Georgia Power as well as a couple of neighbors, Carroll Daniel Construction and Gainesville Renaissance, which both wanted access to charging stations. 

“Renaissance would like to make this available to their residents,” Shepard said. “Carroll Daniel said they have interest for their commercial vehicles.”

Gainesville Renaissance is a multi-million dollar retail and residential development that connects to the parking deck on Main Street. The 60,000-square-foot building, occupying what had been a longtime public parking lot, has three floors, with retail making up the first floor, Brenau University’s  Lynn J. Darby School of Psychology and Adolescent Counseling on the second floor and eight condominium units on the third floor. It is expected to finish construction this summer. 

Carroll Daniel’s headquarters are down the street from the parking deck. 

A third party selected by Georgia Power would install and maintain the charging stations, City Manager Bryan Lackey said, which involves building a transformer and power lines. The stations would provide 24 miles per hour charge, according to Georgia Power documents. 

The parking deck is owned in the name of the Gainesville Redevelopment Authority, and it approved an easement necessary for the project on Friday, Feb. 25. 

Gainesville City Council will vote on whether to accept the funds at its meeting Tuesday, March 1.