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Gulfport negotiating with Progress Energy to get car-charging station

This electric vehicle charging station is now open to the public at the Garden Avenue Parking Garage in downtown Clearwater. Gulfport officials hope to put one in a parking space on Shore Boulevard.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

This electric vehicle charging station is now open to the public at the Garden Avenue Parking Garage in downtown Clearwater. Gulfport officials hope to put one in a parking space on Shore Boulevard.

GULFPORT — If the city gets its way, you soon will be able to eat a picnic lunch on the beach as you feed your electric car in a parking space nearby.

The city is negotiating with Progress Energy Florida to get one of 50 public electric vehicle charging stations the utility is scheduled to install by spring.

Don Sopak, public works director, said, "We've been told we can have one (of the 50), but insurance requirements have to be hashed out."

The city has proposed installing its charging station — a box mounted on a 4-foot pole — in a parking space on Shore Boulevard near the Casino. The box contains a universal cord that plugs into all plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Sopak said Progress Energy will install the station at no cost with federal grant money, but the city will be responsible for paying the power bill. He said the city will take over ownership two years after installation. The logistics of that are being worked out in negotiations.

The City Council will have to approve the final agreement, but Sopak said everyone wants to get it up and running as soon as possible.

"We're excited about it. It follows up with our green initiative in the city. We're just negotiating some terms of the agreement we're not comfortable with," he said.

Gulfport negotiating with Progress Energy to get car-charging station 12/17/11 [Last modified: Saturday, December 17, 2011 3:30am]
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