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  • Writer's pictureErie Innovation District

Smart City Technology Could Be Introduced to Downtown Neighborhoods

Updated: Oct 23, 2019

Security cameras, free public Wi-Fi and LED lighting could come to local neighborhoods that are targeted for reinvestment through the Federal Opportunity Zone initiative.

This will have an array of benefits for the community and its neighborhoods, providing access to resources that may otherwise not be available to citizens.

Mayor Schember, in an interview last week, said his administration — working with the Erie Innovation District and others — is working to bring “secure smart city” equipment and technology over the next 12 months to the eight Opportunity Zones in the Erie region that have been designated by Gov. Tom Wolf’s office and certified by the U.S. Treasury Department.

This would include smart security camera technology that could read license plates and include facial recognition capabilities, energy-efficient LED street lights and free Wi-Fi in public spaces. The goal would be to make neighborhoods safer, bridge the digital divide by providing Wi-Fi capabilities to those who may not have it and make these neighborhoods more attractive for investment.

“It’s kind of an aggressive goal. ... But let’s get these areas done and within the next three years, I’d like to see that technology throughout the entire city,” Schember said.

Local officials are still working on funding, Schember said.

However, city officials believe the city can save $400,000 to $500,000, each year, on electrical costs by widespread implementation of LED lighting, including in the Opportunity Zones, Schember said.

The city spends about $1.2 million annually for electricity and utility pole maintenance, Schember said.

“We can then use that (savings) to help fund the other components of this,” Schember said.

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