A $500,000 grant will help Erie become a smart city by funding the city’s broadband deployment program and providing free public Wi-Fi access outdoors.

The Secure Smart City Pilot project was launched last year to allow the city to use electronic data collection to better manage resources, fight crime and improve efficiency.

The grant was provided by the Appalachian Regional Commission. It is part of a package of $8 million in funding for 10 projects in counties affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations and coal-related supply chain industries.

Other sources will invest an additional $900,000 to implement other Smart City components.

Erie hopes to entirely become a Smart City by 2028.