City Planner Andrew Mack told the Park Rapids City Council on Tuesday that the area’s first “Level 2” electric vehicle charging station has gone online in downtown Park Rapids.

“It’s all been hooked up and connected by our electrician,” he said. “We’re finishing up information with Minnesota Power.”

The charging station is located on a city-owned parking lot at Pleasant Ave. and 3rd St., behind Pioneer Park. Users pay to recharge their electric vehicles’ (EV) batteries.

“Park Rapids is making the map now,” Mack said, referring to the PlugShare app’s trip planning feature, which shows the locations of EV charging stations on three levels.

“Level 1” charging stations, where cars plug in overnight to charge, were already located at AmericInn and the Vagabond Village campground. PlugShare now also shows a “Level 2” charging station in downtown Park Rapids, which takes 2-4 hours to charge.

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Mack said Arch Simonson, who is developing a retail area across U.S. Hwy. 34 from the downtown area, is applying for a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency grant for up to $70,000, with a 30 percent match, to install a “Level 3” charging station, capable of charging a vehicle in 20-40 minutes.

“We’re quickly becoming an electric vehicle center,” said Mack.

Revenue replacement, rounds 3-4

Council member Tom Conway reported about Round 3 of revenue replacement grants awarded by the COVID-19 Business Assistance Program to businesses affected by the pandemic.

“I’m scheduled to sign another $444,619.38 worth of checks on Friday,” he said. “That will bring the grand total for Phase 1, 2 and 3 to $1,282,796 that’s going on to businesses. We did open up for a Phase 4, because we do still have money left. The application deadline for Phase 4 will be Nov. 4.”

Businesses that have lost revenue due to COVID-19 have been advised to apply to the Heartland Lakes Development Commission for the aid, funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).