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Seat Pleasant breaks ground on community center


Energy-efficient, multi-million dollar development to house city government, senior housing, health and recreation facilities

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Photo by Sarah Hainesworth. Neo-soul singer Raheem DeVaughn, a native of the Washington metropolitan area, performs Saturday at the community center groundbreaking celebration.

Photo by Sarah Hainesworth. Neo-soul singer Raheem DeVaughn, a native of the Washington metropolitan area, performs Saturday at the community center groundbreaking celebration.

Published on: Wednesday, October 03, 2012

By Sarah Hainesworth

Bordering Washington D.C., small Seat Pleasant is sometimes one of Prince George’s County “forgotten cities,” but Seat Pleasant Mayor Eugene W. Grant is putting Seat Pleasant back on the radar.

During the past eight years, Grant has increased the size of the city’s police department, which has helped to reduce crime by 33 percent. As mayor, Grant also has provided additional funds to Seat Pleasant Elementary School and ended each year with a surplus. Grant’s latest accomplishment was pushing for a multi-million dollar community center in Seat Pleasant.

Saturday marked the official groundbreaking ceremony of the new Seat Pleasant City Center. The multi-use center will be built on 15 acres of land currently known as Goodwin Park and will include a city hall, health and wellness center, recreation center, senior housing facility and a community center.

“Today marks a historic moment for Seat Pleasant, for the city of excellence. We turn the soil today for our future,” Grant said at Saturday’s groundbreaking. “You don’t tell me God isn’t good to Seat Pleasant. God is on our side. When God is for you, who can be against you? I want you to know we are excited, here today, in the city of excellence.”

Photo by Sarah Hainesworth. R&B songstress Chrisette Michelle also sings at the groundbreaking celebration.

Photo by Sarah Hainesworth. R&B songstress Chrisette Michelle also sings at the groundbreaking celebration.

The center will make use of renewable and energy efficient resources, and the city hopes the building will be certified LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council.

“We are the first in the state of Maryland to build a community of the future,” Grant said. “This will be an integrated, distributed, renewable, sustainable development that will produce its own energy. The best is yet to come.”

Officials reassured the audience of just how much of an asset the city center will be to Seat Pleasant.

“When you work together, this is what happens, and it couldn’t happen in a better place than the city of Seat Pleasant, the city of excellence,” said Sen. Joanne Benson, District 24. “This is going to be the hallmark for not only Prince George’s County but for the nation. Whatever I can do in my office, I am prepared to do it.”

Prince George’s County Sheriff Melvin High said, “This is about the future; about what we leave for the next generation to make sure our communities are sustainable.”

The groundbreaking also served as a celebration for Seat Pleasant residents, as ground had not been broken for a new development in almost 30 years.

Media personality Sheila Stewart hosted the event and was excited to be a part of it.

“This is a beautiful day. This is a special day for the city of Seat Pleasant,” she said. “I’m honored to be the mistress of ceremony.”

Throughout the day, local and national level performers entertained attendees. Local artists included Deleono, Stephen Hurd, Makeena Burns, Gemini, Kenny Iko and Wesley Mountain.

Mountain, a graduate of Fairmount Heights High School, kicked off the morning with his heart felt rendition of the national anthem.

“It was amazing. I was excited. It’s a feeling I never felt before because of the magnitude of starting something new in Seat Pleasant. This is my city,” he said.

DJ Rico and DJ Dnitty were the event’s official emcees.

Tennis star Venus Williams greeted the crowd via video. Williams was in China and apologized for her absence but voiced her excitement for the project. Her company V Starr Interiors will design the new development.

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