Wheeling, Buffalo Grove and Lombard among towns adding EV charging stations through new grants

Public charging stations for electric vehicles and solar technology to aid law enforcement are among the community projects that will be funded through $171,000 in new grants announced Monday from ComEd and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus.

Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns, the environment committee chairman of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, said the projects will cut carbon emissions and provide infrastructure needed for climate progress.

Twenty-one communities will benefit from the Powering Safe Communities grants program designed to promote public safety and access to clean transportation.

Communities receiving grants include Wheeling, where the village plans to purchase a vehicle charging station and place it at village hall, Public Works Director Daniel Kaup said. Wheeling-based Carbon Day EV Charging will provide a ChargePoint station similar to the one used at the village's Metra station, he said.

“Putting in the charging station at the village hall will help encourage electric vehicle ownership by offering additional charging opportunities throughout the community,” he said.

Neighboring Buffalo Grove will receive grant funds to install charging stations at Fire Stations 26 and 27 for use by the fire department staff, said Jim Warnstedt, assistant director of public works.

“Roughly five staff have all electric vehicles and about three or four have electric hybrids,” he said. “Instead of running extension cords out there to try and get them charged up, this is a better, safer option.”

In Lombard, the village is using grant funds for two new electric vehicle charging stations in the central business district for public use, Public Works Director Carl Goldsmith said.

“There are no publicly owned facilities that are available right now in Lombard. So these would represent the first of their kind,” he said.

Elsewhere, Elburn will install a public electric-vehicle charging station at North 1st Street and East North Street.

The Fox Lake Police Department will use grant money to acquire two new license plate reader cameras. Police Chief Jimmy Lee said the cameras will help in the event someone commits a crime using a vehicle of a particular description. With the Flock system, the police can not only find the vehicle, but also its license plate.

Bull Valley will outfit 30 miles of winding rural roads with LED stop signs, while Fox River Grove will purchase new solar-powered radar signs to deter speeding and will buy road flares used to notify drivers in the event of a safety hazard. Maple Park also will purchase two solar- powered portable speed signs.

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