Minn. Power scouting downtown EV charging sites

Possible locations identified as of Feb. 14 included Pizza Hut, Simonson's and Coborn's, with applications still open.

An electric vehicle charging station opened in 2020 in the municipal parking lot at Pleasant Avenue and 3rd Street, adjacent to Pioneer Park.
Park Rapids Enterprise file photo (2021)

Minnesota Power is scoping out locations for an electric vehicle (EV) charging station somewhere in the downtown Park Rapids area.

City Administrator Angel Weasner told the Park Rapids City Council during a Feb. 14 workshop that the power company is open to suggestions for locations.

“We discussed three locations,” she said. “None of them are city property. I just wanted to know if anybody had ideas of a location they would like to present.”

The three locations identified so far were Coborn’s, Simonson’s and Pizza Hut, she said. “That way, they’re all accessible to downtown, and they’re still near food services.”

Weasner later explained that this is important because it takes time to charge your car.


Mayor Ryan Leckner recalled that when Simonson’s was developing their convenience store, on 1st Street between Main Avenue and Park Avenue, they had discussed putting in an EV charging station.

Asked about the Chamber of Commerce as a location, Weasner said this would be too far out. Regarding a vacant lot across the street from Hugo’s, Public Works Superintendent Scott Burlingame said the owners don’t want a charging station there.

Weasner said they also discussed a municipal parking lot that already has EV charging, but Minnesota Power determined it was already fully served.

She said Minnesota Power is in talks with the three businesses identified so far, and anybody interested is welcome to apply.

In consent items and general business, the council:

  • Appointed Carolynne White and reappointed Paul Albright to the Arts and Culture Advisory Commission.
  • Approved a letter authorizing Northland Securities to provide underwriting and municipal advisor services to the city.
  • Approved auditing firm Brady Martz to conduct the city’s annual audit for 2022, 2023 and 2024. Weasner said the city will also need to request an extension from the state on the June 30 deadline for the 2022 audit. 
  • Paid Banyon Data Systems $2,910 for support on the city’s retired financial operating system, needed to give auditors access to data stored on it. According to a staff memo, the cost was a $720 increase over last year’s support costs, but this is the last year Banyon’s service will be needed.
  • Paid Berkley Risk Administration $355,657 for the city’s workers’ compensation ($161,237) and property/casualty ($194,420) coverage premiums..
  • Paid the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities $7,340 for the city’s 2023 dues, a $161 increase from last year’s dues..
  • Paid Hawkins, Inc. $3,384 to purchase water treatment chemicals.
  • Paid the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office $23,268 for the Park Rapids Police Department’s share of phase 1 of converting to ProPhoenix public safety software. 
  • Paid Minnesota Pump Works $7,071 for emergency repair of a sanitary sewer lift station, including a new pump.
  • Paid Widseth, Smith and Nolting $133,355 for 2021 and 2022 building inspections ($83,518 and $46,759 respectively) and 2021 and 2022 plumbing inspections ($1,289 and $1,789 respectively).
  • Approved the refund of a building permit to Nathan Turnquist. According to a staff memo in the agenda packet, Turnquist decided not to build on the property at 18164 169th Ave. 
  • Approved the sale of a tax forfeit parcel at 203 3rd St. E. by Hubbard County. According to the staff memo, the city has a right to review a parcel before it is put up for auction, as to whether it can be used for a public purpose and if so, can file a land use deed with the state. However, staff recommended returning the parcel to the county to sell it.
  • Scheduled a public hearing for Feb. 28 for a proposed liquor license at the Armory Arts & Events Center. 
  • Approved various temporary on-sale liquor licenses, multi-vendor licenses and a public facilities use permit for various events in the city.
  • Approved the final readings of two ordinances: one, to rezone 118 Washington Ave. N. (previously the Red Bridge Inn) from C-1 conservation to R-B residential business; the other, to rezone 600 Washington Ave. S. from R-1 single-family residential to R-2 single, two-family and townhouse residential. 
  • Acknowledged donations to the city Jan. 21-24, totaling $1,995 and including a $1,500 donation from Lake Emma Township to the public library. 
  • Approved payables totaling $558,059 and prepaids totaling $272,605.
  • Went into a closed session to discuss labor contract negotiations.

The city council’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28 at city hall.

Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at or 218-252-3053.
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