The history of the City of Gaylord goes back to the 19th century. Otsego Lake, the first village, was founded in 1872 and became the county seat in 1875 when the county of Otsego was organized. The new community was settled in 1874 by the Jackson, Lansing, and Saginaw Railroad. The community was named for Augustine Smith Gaylord, an attorney for the railroad and named county seat in 1877. Today, the chief businesses in the city are farming and tourism.
When the State of Michigan began to lay out a map of where they would like to see Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers, they had planned to install them along the I-75 corridor and into the Upper Peninsula. The City of Gaylord, initially bypassed in this plan, saw this as an opportunity for growth, in both sustainability and their tourism industry. After discovering usable rebates through Consumers Energy, the City of Gaylord became involved with ChargePoint- one of the largest EV charging networks in North America -and began the process of installing the EV stations in
their downtown area. Two DC Level II chargers and two Level I chargers were installed at the city’s pavilion parking lot, a central location a block off of M-32, the city’s mainstreet and a major Michigan highway. Their goal was to install an EV station in the city’s heart and to encourage foot-traffic while charging. The City began discussion for the project in January and was available for use in July. This summer will mark three years since the station has been installed. The total cost of the project was $184K. They received grants from Consumers Energy for $90K and the State of Michigan for $41K. Additionally, the Gaylord Area Tourism Bureau contributed $10K and the Downtown Development Authority $10K. Thus the total cost to the City of Gaylord was $33K. The Level II chargers run at $3 for 15 minutes, with most people charging for 45 minutes; while the Level I chargers run at $1 per hour. There is no cost for parking. The project was unveiled in July of 2019 with the City’s two, year-round electric school buses as the inaugural charges.
The accomplishment of this project was a group effort, said Kim Awrey, City Manager for the City of Gaylord; both a group effort in terms of the employee time contributed and the contributions made by local organizations. The City employs 32 individuals full time, with 6 in administration. When asked what her favorite part of the project was, Kim said the financial assistance that they received. Due to the City’s limited resources the project concept was difficult to pass initially, so the grants were integral in its overall success. In the future the City plans to take advantage of the uptick in grant funding to add solar and more EV charging stations near their City Hall, which is located on the opposite side of town from the pavilion.
We were excited to celebrate the City of Gaylord’s accomplishments in energy efficiency at our annual Michigan Energy Summit on April 18, 2023 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where they were awarded in the EV Infrastructure Category, nominated by Consumers Energy!