by Phil Yacuboski
Stroudsburg is about to get a lot more environmentally friendly. The borough recently installed two new electric vehicle charging stations and will soon add solar-powered compacting trash cans.
The charging stations are being funded through a grant called ‘Driving PA Forward.’
“We are happy to see them and people are using them,” said Jennifer Maier, Stroudsburg borough manager.
The grant program is being funded by the Volkswagen settlement with the state of Pennsylvania and other states. More than $2.6 million is being made available statewide due the settlement with the car maker over emissions cheating. The goal of the grant program is to help Pennsylvania meet its emissions goals, according to the Wolf Administration.
“We have one station, but it has two plugs so two cars can charge with one station,” Maier said. It’s located at South Six and Ann streets in the borough.
The unit cost $5,000 and was purchased through ChargePoint, which has an app that users of electric vehicles can download to their smartphone. They can locate them using the technology.
There is a small fee to use the charging service.
“Anybody can drive up and use them,” said Maier. “Typically they will be used in two ways. Either someone works in Stroudsburg and they want to recharge there while they are at work, or they are en route on I-80 and they want to stop and charge their car and grab something to eat while they are waiting and then head back out on the road.”
Stroudsburg Mayor Tarah Probst said in early 2016, Tesla reached out to her about charging stations. She said the borough’s parking committee decided to pursue the matter through a state grant.
“It puts us in the 21st Century,” Probst said. “A lot of towns don’t change and if you don’t change, you die. We also want to be good on the carbon footprint and we know that electric cars are growing in popularity.”
Probst said it also attracts people to small town America.
“It’s a good way to experience the Poconos and it’s a way for people to see what we offer,” she said. “It brings more people to our downtown to visit.”
The borough also has 38 solar compacting stations that will line the streets. The money for the trash cans came via a gaming grant. They will be installed by the fall.
“Each of them will automatically tell the borough when its full,” she said. “Oftentimes on a Monday morning, the trash is full because we’ve had a busy weekend, and this will tell our public works crews which trash cans are full.”
Maier said the green initiatives have been received “very well” so far.
“We’re doing this to combat climate change,” said Maier. “The less pollution we are putting into the air, the easier it is for the sun’s rays to reflect back off the planet and to keep the planet from warming.”
“We are trying to change with the times and be better with the planet,” said Probst.