Photo credit: DiasporaEngager (www.DiasporaEngager.com).

(Talladega, AL) Seddrick Hill Sr., (shown above distributing food with Unite Way) who previously served as vice president for institutional advancement at Talladega College, is the first African American ever selected to serve as Talladega, Alabama’s city manager.

The fact that Mr. Hill was unanimously chosen by Talladega’s City Council for the city’s highest-ranking post, overseeing close to 300 employees, including Talladega fire fighters and police, suggests that a seismic shift may be underway in Dega.

“Some people who didn’t necessarily envision or desire a city manager who looked like me seem to be excited about the changes I’m trying to bring to the city,” said Hill, who earned a bachelor’s degree in public administration with a minor in criminal justice from Talladega; a master’s in public administration with a concentration in criminal justice from Jacksonville State University; and a certificate in philanthropy and fundraising at the New York University (NYU) George H. Heyman, Jr. Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising.

“One of my chief priorities is to restore a sense of pride in our community,” said Hill. “Everybody didn’t celebrate my appointment, but most people want what’s best for our city. So as they see the changes I’m trying to make, even some of the naysayers have begun to ask me how they can help me make Talladega a better place to live and work.”

These changes include fighting crime by adding LED lighting to brighten dangerous areas; installing ShotSpotters to alert police when a gun is fired; establishing a partnership with Crime Stoppers; increasing police training; and getting more officers into the community and engaging with young people in order to build trust and better serve Talladegans.

Mr. Hill has also undertaken an epic battle against blight. While the city has an array of impressive resources, including Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega College, the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB), the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, Historic Silk Stocking District, Hall of Heroes, CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park, Heritage Hall, Historic Ritz Theatre, TOP Trails, Davey Allison Park and the William R. Harvey Museum of Art, which houses the Amistad Murals, many areas are in need of a facelift. A number of neglected homes, some inherited by individuals who reside in other states, have detracted from Talladega’s beauty.

To remedy this problem, Hill drives though the community extensively, actively seeking ways to better maintain and improve Talladega. He is working aggressively to strengthen the city’s code enforcement department while also working closely with the Talladega City Council to remove some abandoned homes at no charge to homeowners via development block grants. His strategies include meeting with negligent landlords and insisting that they maintain the properties they own or risk losing their business licenses; encouraging tenants to take pride in their communities via contests and special promotions; securing more workers and new equipment to better maintain outdoor spaces; and more proactively seeking grants to help beautify Talladega.

After surveying Talladega citizens, Hill discovered that over ninety percent felt there were not enough free or affordable activities for children and families. To remedy this problem, he recently hosted Talladega’s first-ever Community and Employee Appreciation Day. Highlights included a picnic, pedal boats, golf, fishing, waterslides and swimming at Shocco Springs, a large conference center in Talladega. The free outdoor event was attended by hundreds.

While Hill is a native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, he is thoroughly at home in Talladega. In addition to graduating from and working for Talladega College, he was most recently employed by AIDB, where he was the first African American to serve as the organization’s executive director of institutional advancement and community relations.

“Talladega is blessed to have beautiful outdoor spaces where residents and visitors can socialize, bond and have a great time. After seeing how much everyone enjoyed our first Community and Employee Appreciation Day, I am determined to make this a tradition. It’s good for families and good for the entire community,” Hill stated.

“Living in a safe, clean, attractive community where the grass is mowed, potholes are filled, streets are cleaned, and properties are well-maintain is critical to the mental and physical wellbeing of our residents,” said Hill, who believes that revitalizing the city will help attract more businesses and create greater opportunities for its citizens.

A number of community leaders have expressed excitement about Mr. Hill’s initiatives.

Talladega City Schools Superintendent Dr. Quentin Lee stated, “Mr. Hill has an eye for discovering the beauty in all things Talladega. In my many conversations with him, he is always thinking towards the future and finding ways to provide more for the citizens of Talladega. Mr. Hill has a heart for the students in Talladega. His commitment to helping children succeed is key in moving our city forward. Mr. Hill is always eager to help assist the students and schools in Talladega. He’s a welcomed change agent in our community. His plans will definitely benefit the next generations to come.”

Dr. John Mascia, president and CEO of Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, one of the largest institutions in Talladega, stated, “Mr. Hill is accessible and he is truly interested in getting to know people in this community. He is naturally curious to learn about what other people are thinking and his style of developing events that bring a cross section of the community together is the gift that Seddrick Hill brings to the city of Talladega, Alabama in his role as city manager.”

Talladega College Acting President Dr. Lisa Long stated, “I am so pleased that Mr. Hill has taken this opportunity to build community relationships and partnerships.”

Talladega Mayor Timothy Ragland added, “Mr. Hill has a record of getting things done and he brings that experience to City Hall. I am excited to work with Mr. Hill on critical initiatives and policies to expand smart growth and development while maintaining the community’s identity.”

Hall of Heroes Museum Curator Jimmy Williams, stated, “My support for Seddrick Hill is based on his passion and vision for Talladega long before he became our City Manger. Even though both of his prior positions, Talladega College and AIDB, were very demanding, he still took time to support anyone trying to make our city a better place. If he tells you he is going to do something, it happens. If he tells you he can’t, he will tell you why. I have every confidence that with support he will make this city a place we will all be proud to call home.”

Source of original article: Black Star News (www.blackstarnews.com).
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