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Siesta Key Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011 6 years ago

Village merchants interested in electric-vehicle charging stations

by: Rachel Brown Hackney Managing Editor

The president of the Siesta Key Village Association Nov. 1 proposed the organization look into installing an electric-vehicle charging station in the Village in the near future, and Sarasota County Commission Chairwoman Nora Patterson suggested the county may help fund the cost.

Russell Matthes, co-owner of the Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar, said Venice officials already have been discussing the possibility of installing charging stations in that community.

“It’s something we need to address at some point,” he said.

Because the cost of a charging station could be as little as one-fourth the equivalent cost of a new parking space on the Key, Patterson said she would introduce the idea to the commission.

“It may be that the county really should climb on board that (idea),” Patterson said.

During the association’s monthly meeting, Matthes suggested a charging station could be installed by the gazebo, at the intersection of Canal Road and Ocean Boulevard.

Troy Syprett, another co-owner of the Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar, suggested an alternative location would be the public parking lot between Avenida Madera and Avenida de Mayo.

Matthes reminded the group that Briana O’Brien, owner of The Green Hopper free taxi service, addressed the members during their Oct. 4 meeting about her efforts to provide the electric vehicles as a transportation alternative in the Village and on other parts of the Key.

His research, Matthes said, revealed charging stations ranged in cost from $2,500 to about $8,000. Dual-charging stations are the more expensive models, he added.

Patrons of the stations would pay for the service, which would cost about $2 per hour. It takes typically from 30 minutes to three hours to charge a vehicle, Matthes said.

A tourist in the area would be able to use his smart phone to learn where the closest charging station was located, Matthes said.

“I’d love to have more electric vehicles coming out here,” Matthes said, adding that he would find an expert on the charging stations to make a presentation to the members during a future meeting.

When Michael Shay, a Siesta Key Association board member, asked whether federal money still was available for help in installing charging stations, Matthes said he had learned that aid ended about a month ago.

In another matter, Matthes said although the Safe Treats Halloween observance went well Monday, the number of participants on the Key was small compared to the crowd he had seen at Fright Night on St. Armands Circle.

Matthes and Syprett opened a Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar on St. Armands about a year ago.

“Wow, what a turnout,” Matthes said of the number of people attending Fright Night. “It kind of challenges us on Safe Treats.”

Fright Night included a performance of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” by Sarasota High School Drama Department students.

Matthes said the SKVA would need more volunteers to create a bigger Safe Treats event in the future.
Syprett also said Fright Night began at 6 p.m., when Safe Treats was ending.

“We might look at starting (Safe Treats) later and running it later,” he added, pointing out that middle-school students with after-school activities, including one of his children, have trouble reaching the Key before Safe Treats ends.

“That’s been a discussion,” Matthes said of later hours for Safe Treats. “One problem in the past has been the shops not staying open,” he added.

Village merchants should be encouraged to stay open later on Halloween, Syprett said.

“You would think it would be a no-brainer,” Matthes said.

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