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Erie, Pa., Plans Surveillance System, LED Lights for Smart City Initiative

(TNS) — The city of Erie, Pa., will soon see free public Wi-Fi in Perry Square, a video surveillance system in the park that can quickly alert law enforcement to potential threats, and energy-efficient LED lights on 66 existing utility poles downtown.

Those new amenities are part of what's being called the Secure Smart City pilot project, which was outlined by Erie Mayor Joe Schember and Karl Sanchack, chief executive of the Erie Innovation District, at a Thursday morning news conference at City Hall.

The program aims to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life for city residents and visitors, officials said. It is being funded through $300,000 from the Innovation District, an organization charged with encouraging connections between academia and industry and sustaining and attracting businesses that are focused on safety and security.

The security and surveillance system would be installed on two poles in Perry Square, and the system could relay real-time information to city officials. For example, if an unattended package were left in the park, the system could detect it and send an alert to authorities to investigate.

"Cities worldwide are using state-of-the-art technology to reduce traffic congestion, enhance connectivity, promote economic development, fight crime and make local governments more efficient and responsive," Schember said. "We are excited to be part of this cutting-edge project as we move to transform Erie into a center of innovation."

The pilot project will initially focus on the area encompassing State Street, between Sixth and 12th streets, and could launch as early as July.

Quantela, a global data analytics company that has worked on similar projects worldwide, will help implement the project. Officials said the project could expand citywide, depending on community feedback and available funding.

The Innovation District is overseen by Mercyhurst University and funded by a $4 million grant provided by the Erie Community Foundation in partnership with the Susan Hirt Hagen Fund for Transformational Philanthropy and the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority.

©2018 the Erie Times-News (Erie, Pa.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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