Seat Pleasant Mayor Eugene Grant told a group of residents recently that his city would be known as an innovative city that uses the latest technology to enhance the lives of its residents.
Eugene Grant, mayor of Seat Pleasant, Md., said he is confident he can make the city a Smart City. (AFRO File Photo)
On Jan. 30, Grant delivered his “State of the City Address” at the Seat Pleasant Activity Center before 60 people. Grant, who was elected as mayor in 2004 and has been re-elected with ease since then, said he is excited about the city’s future with the election of new city council members.
“I am the longest tenured mayor in our 85 year history,” he said. “I have had to endure three tumultuous terms but we endured and maintained our resolve. We now have a bright, brilliant city council that makes sure that the executive and legislative branches are equal.”
Seat Pleasant is located in Prince George’s County and is on the border of the District of Columbia’s Ward 7 and is predominantly Black. It is a largely working class community that has two major highways, Martin Luther King Jr., Highway and Central Avenue, within its boundaries and is close to the Addison Road-Seat Pleasant and Capitol Heights Metro Stations on the Blue and Silver Lines.
Members of the Seat Pleasant council that were present at the address, included President Reveral Yeargin (Ward 3), Kelly Porter and Shireka McCarthy (At Large), Lamar Maxwell (Ward 1), Aretha A. Stephenson (Ward 2) and Gloria Sistrunk (Ward 5). Other political notables at the address were Maryland Delegate-Designate Jazz Lewis (D-District 24), Fairmount Heights Mayor Patricia Waiters and District Heights Mayor Jack Sims.
Grant said that “Seat Pleasant is on the path to success with good governance, safe streets and sound economic policies.”
He talked about offering the city’s senior citizens an across the board tax break if they have lived in the city for 40 years and said efforts are in place to get a quality supermarket.
However, most of the mayor’s remarks focused on his “Smart City” proposal. He announced that he was able to get a $4.1 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to build a new city hall and public works facility.
A Smart City is an urban area where technological tools such as the Internet are used to enhance sustainable economic growth and high quality of life through human capital, social capital and or infrastructure. The Smart City concept has been embraced throughout the nation and internationally by some cities and urban planners to address the growing population of cities and scarce government resources.
Grant envisions a Seat Pleasant where gunshots can be detected through sensors and the police could be notified immediately and every resident and business having access to the Internet, among other things. He said that IBM and the Hogan administration have shown interest in helping Seat Pleasant become a Smart City and he is seeking private investors who could donate up to $120 million towards the concept.
Grant said he knows that some will doubt the ability of his approximately 4,500 resident, predominantly Black, municipality to become a Smart City but he isn’t deterred.
“This Black mayor and this Black city council will make Seat Pleasant a Smart City,” he said. “We aren’t doing this for show. We want residents of Seat Pleasant to have access to good jobs, reducing our 16 percent unemployment rate and reducing our 17 percent poverty rate.”
Grant closed his 45-minute remarks by saying that by becoming a Smart City, “Seat Pleasant will be a step closer to the Promised Land.”