The Williamsburg Economic Development Authority Board of Directors reviewed the progress of its partnership with Tesla and selected a winner of its 2018 Business Appreciation Award its Wednesday meeting.
Talks with Tesla to install electric car charging stations throughout the city began last March, with plans to put chargers in high-traffic public spaces throughout the city. The high-tech luxury car manufacturer has approved five locations including the North Henry Street Parking Garage, and will provide $1500 per charger in installation costs.
There will multiple chargers installed at each of the five approved sites, with a maximum of 15 per location.
Yuri Matsumoto, the city’s economic development specialist, estimates the installation process for this first phase of chargers will be completed in 10 to 12 weeks. Early plans have also been made with Peter Ambiel, Tesla’s regional charger representative, to install the company’s proprietary Superchargers in the city’s downtown area sometime next year.
“We would get added to Tesla’s charger map, and as far as the five locations that we’ve been approved for, just because we’ve been approved for those now doesn’t mean that we can’t be approved for more in the future,” said Matsumoto.
The body also passed a motion to recognize Quirks of Art as the EDA’s 2018 Business Appreciation Award recipient.
The award honors Williamsburg businesses that have been open for at least five years, have less than 100 employees and have indicated continued growth, according to a news release. Previous recipients include: The Jefferson Restaurant, Sal’s By Victor, Blue Talon Bistro and the Williamsburg Farmer’s Market.
No members of the board presented any other nominees.
The artwork store, which is owned by Jennifer Raines, has been open in the city for 13 years. Raines recently opened a second store, The Sideshow, which she says is a curation of “a truly dazzling display of exciting work created by America’s most notable craftspeople.”
“They have been nominated for this award multiple times and obviously they’re doing a lot and it could be very good exposure for them with the Sideshow having recently opened,” said board member Robert Willey. “They’ll get that much more face-time, they’re certainly deserving of it.”
The award will be presented at the Williamsburg City Council’s June 8 meeting.
The EDA’s Board of Directors is expected to discuss a funding request from Colonial Williamsburg for its Merchants Square Summer Breeze Concert Series at its June meeting.
Jeffrey Duncan, Colonial Williamsburg’s vice president of real estate, says the organization is looking for sponsors to secure additional funding, which will be necessary after the decision to extend the event eight weeks to 16 weeks and to move it from Duke of Gloucester Street to the Museum Lawn.
“In re-imagining and expanding the series we are approaching potential sponsors interested in supporting the concerts,” wrote Duncan in a letter to Economic Development Director Michele Mixner DeWitt. “While we have not established specific sponsorship levels, I am asking several organizations to consider participating with $2,500-$5,000 of support.”
Although the funding request was originally meant to be decided at Wednesday’s meeting, EDA Chairman Adam Steely says he feels it may be inappropriate to provide additional funds the event without first consulting City Council, who has already endowed the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation with $75,000 to hold similar events.
“The issue that we’re trying to resolve is whether it is appropriate for this body to use our funds to be a sponsor for events by an organization that is already being sponsored by the city,” said Steely. “I don’t want the City Manager or City Council to feel that when they appropriate money on the city’s behalf to invest in events, that it’s the EDA’s prerogative to trump that investment. That’s not really what we’re here for.”
The Economic Development Authority’s Board of Directors is expected to hold its next meeting on June 13.
Arriaza can be reached at 757-790-9313 or on Twitter @rodrigoarriaza0.