Akron will soon have its first natural gas filling station open to the public.
Akron City Council approved plans Monday for J Rayl Transport, a regional trucking company, to add a compressed natural gas filling station and truck terminal to its property at the corner of South Arlington Street and Palmetto Avenue.
The company plans to convert its fleet of trucks from diesel to either natural gas or a combination of diesel and natural gas. The filling station also will be open to the public, likely attracting other commercial businesses that are using natural gas.
Dan Carter, J Rayl’s financial controller, told council members the conversion will save the company money, with natural gas running about a third of the cost of diesel. He said natural gas also is a cleaner burning fuel and is a resource readily available in the United States.
“This allows us to continue to grow with the path we’ve been on,” Carter said. “We have no intention of leaving. This will allow us to create more jobs. The decreased cost we will use to fuel our growth.”
Carter said the natural gas will be stored above-ground. He said the process for filling up a truck will take about 20 minutes.
The company will initially fuel its trucks with a combination of diesel and natural gas, especially because natural-gas-powered trucks are just now becoming available, Carter said.
The filling station is expected to open in the next three to six months.
Mike Antenucci, the city’s zoning manager, said the station will be the first of its kind open to the public in Akron. Metro Regional Transit Authority uses natural gas for its buses, but its facilities aren’t accessible to the public.
Council President Garry Moneypenny, whose ward includes the company, is pleased to see the company that currently employs more than 200 people expanding in Akron.
“They’re a home-grown company that’s doing good,” he said. “This is an exciting time for them, as well as for the city.”
Two people spoke in favor of the station at the council meeting, saying natural gas is a cleaner, safer and more environmentally friendly fuel option.
“The only disadvantage is that there’s not enough fueling,” said Dennis Bittaker of Clinton.
Sidney Glick of Bath Township said he has two cars that are powered by natural gas. He said he just filled up one of his vehicles at Smith Dairy in Orrville, which has a private/public natural gas station, for $1.95 a gallon.
“For the people of Akron, this is a wonderful thing,” he said. “The more stations we have, the better.”
Willis Renuart, the owner of the Burger King on Arlington Street next to the station location, said he is concerned about the safety of it being so close to his busy restaurant.
Councilman Jeff Fusco said he and other council members are confident any needed safety precautions will be taken.
In other business, council approved a resolution objecting to the parole of Arkmael Sales, who was convicted of the 1979 stabbing death of Myrtle Grace Rittenour, 66, during a burglary at her home. Rittenour was a mother of five, grandmother to 24 and great-grandmother who was planning her 50th wedding anniversary at the time of her death. The resolution said Sales’ parole should be denied because of the “horrific nature of this murder and the effects this crime had and continues to have on the Rittenour family.”
Sales, 71, who was sentenced to life in prison, is scheduled to appear before the parole board in June.