GARDINER — Gardiner now has no public electric vehicle charging stations, but that could change if city officials pursue joining a statewide effort to reduce carbon emissions and ward against the effects of climate change.

EV charging stations are among the options that could be funded by grants from the Maine Community Resilience Partnership, but it is not the only possible project for cities and towns interested in identifying ways to reduce emissions and prepare for the impacts of a changing climate in Maine.

City officials hosted a workshop last Wednesday at the Gardiner Public Library to measure community interest and start to identify priorities that could be addressed through grant funding available through the partnership.

“A lot of people have asked about EV charging stations,” Gardiner Mayor Patricia Hart said, noting that joining the partnership is a way to increase access to money for needed projects that would not affect property taxes that city residents pay.

Among the half-dozen residents who turned out, Anthony Veit came because he has an interest in climate resilience and how to prepare for it.

Veit said he has been painting his house this year so he is especially aware of the unusually wet weather pattern that settled over Maine in the spring and summer, beginning with the historic rainfall April 30 and May 1 that caused flooding in communities along the Kennebec River, including Gardiner.


The notion of climate resilience and how to prepare for changing conditions drew his attention.

“I definitely was impacted by random weather patterns throughout the summer, as well as the flooding that happens regularly,” Veit said. “It’s nothing new, but I am mindful it could get worse, more frequent. It makes sense to plan ahead for those things.”

Veit said he is also interested in other environmental issues, including clean water and protecting the source of water.

“Is there a way we can do some of this smarter and more thoughtfully?” he said. “If there’s necessity, that’s a great way to effect change. Can we do it before it gets really stressful?”

Melissa Lindley, Gardiner’s economic development director, said one of the projects that could be considered is strengthening infrastructure, including Waterfront Park, which has deteriorated over the years due to ice damage and flooding, and adding EV charging stations.

Eligible projects include a wide range of proposals that could include adopting an anti-idling ordinance, planning for energy efficiency and weatherizing municipal buildings. Grants could also pay for a community vulnerability assessment and to develop a climate resilience plan.


The partnership had developed a list of community actions that align with the state’s climate plan, and Gardiner has completed several of them, including upgrading its streetlights to light-emitting diode, or LED, lamps.

City officials have received a report recently evaluating the condition of City Hall, the police and fire stations and the Department of Public Works garage to help plan for the city’s future needs.

Lindley said grants secured through the state program could be used as a match for federal grant funding.

Wednesday’s workshop was one step in the process of enrolling in the partnership. The next step belongs to the Gardiner City Council, which must decide whether to join the partnership.

If elected officials adopt a resolution, the city would be able to apply for grant funding in each round offered, receive help with developing projects and writing grant applications and have access to training. It is also likely the city would create a committee to make recommendations about priorities Gardiner should pursue.

To date, more than 120 communities and tribal governments have enrolled in the program. Across central Maine, Chelsea, Hallowell, Skowhegan and Vassalboro have completed the requirements to join.

Along with China, Manchester and Vienna, Gardiner is among about another 50 communities now working toward enrolling.

Grainne Shaw, community resilience coordinator for the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments, said she can help with enrollment and submitting materials to the state, and can write grants for Gardiner.

For the next round of funding, which is expected to be available early next year, the city would have to be enrolled by November, Shaw said. And while not every community that applies is guaranteed to be fully funded, priority is given to first-time applicants.

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story

filed under: