Governor Wolf Announces $16.5 Million in Funding for Five Economic Development and Public Health Projects in Erie County

August 13, 2018

Erie, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced new funding to support five projects in Erie County, including improvements to sports complexes, the construction of a new rural health facility, and renovations to a hotel and a senior living center.

“I had the pleasure of taking a walking tour to see firsthand what can happen when the state partners in a strategic way with a city that has a vision for its future,” Gov. Wolf said. “Erie is that city.”

The five projects announced today are as follows:

  • Erie County Convention Center Authority was approved for a $12 million, multi-year grant for improvements to UPMC Park that will include a new structure to house the ticket offices, administrative offices, storage, and team stores for the baseball and hockey teams, plus renovations to existing ballpark structures, and streetscaping. The award is for $3 million per year for four years.
  • Erie County General Authority was approved for a $1 million grant for renovation of the Avalon Hotel into an upscale Hilton Doubletree hotel. Renovation of the hotel aligns with the Emerge 2040, Erie Refocused, and Erie Downtown Master comprehensive plans and provides upscale hotel service to downtown Erie and overflow for the convention center.
  • Presbyterian Homes in the Presbytery of Lake Erie was approved for a $500,000 grant for the renovation of Elmwood Gardens, a single-story community that provides seniors with independent living, personal care and skilled nursing, and short-term rehabilitation. Upgrades include a new roof, renovations and expansion of nursing stations, new flooring in resident rooms, HVAC improvements, window upgrades, dining room expansion, and elevator upgrades.
  • The Redevelopment Authority in the City of Corry was approved for a $1 million grant for the construction of a new Medical Arts facility connected to the Corry Memorial Hospital. The 10,500-square-foot facility will provide space for specialty doctors rotating in on a weekly basis from LECOM’s hospital in Erie.

“I appreciate the opportunity to work with LECOM, the Governor and Rick Novotney to help expand accessible, quality healthcare services for the families of Corry and surrounding areas,” said Senator Michele Brooks. “This project will help recruit and retain doctors and nurses in the area, while also adding to our economic vitality. I am excited to know with the addition of a new Senior Living Center, our senior citizens will have added opportunity to remain close to family members in the community they love.”

In addition, a 44,000-square-foot, 24-unit senior living center will be constructed adjacent and connected to the Medical Arts facility. This project is especially important for public health in the Corry area, as patients currently must drive an hour to receive care from specialists. This project will bring the doctors to the patients, providing a vital boost to public health and community development in Corry.

“I am extremely pleased that we were able to successfully usher the Elmwood Gardens request through the process,” said Senator Daniel Laughlin. “This funding was much needed in order to update their infrastructure. This will be a great benefit not only to the residents, but also for the amazing staff that makes this facility such a wonderful place. Both my mother and father have spent time there. My mother spent her final days at Elmwood Gardens and she received great care. She especially loved sitting in the courtyard, enjoying the beautiful flowers. I’m also happy to see that funding was released for three other important projects in our region, the LECOM Corry Hospital expansion, the Avalon Hotel remodel and the UPMC Park upgrades. These will all be very beneficial to the economy here in Erie.”

Previously announced in July, the City of Erie was approved for a $2 million grant to support the renovation of JMC Ice Arena. Operated by the Erie Zoological Society, this project includes the renovation of the existing building and systems in order to make JMC Ice Arena operable again. Funding will support a new ice making system and new interior work, including a new ceiling, a new front entrance, and cosmetic work to locker rooms and the lobby, and new bleachers for guests.

From 2015 through July of this year, the commonwealth helped to secure more than $80 million in various transportation, business development, and community revitalization projects throughout the Erie region.

“These grants are critically important not just for a few people,” said Representative Ryan Bizzarro. “The results from these efforts will greatly benefit Erie county and northwest Pennsylvania with enhancing our reputation as a destination for tourism, quality entertainment and the economic growth of many locally owned small businesses in the area that work hard every day to serve those in and around the area.”

Last year, the Wolf administration partnered with Disabled Veteran Solutions, a veteran-owned business that focuses on hiring veterans and military families to expand operations at a new site in Erie and create more than 200 new jobs.

The administration also made significant commitments at the Bayfront, including a plan to connect downtown Erie to the waterfront to bring visitors from the Bayfront to the downtown area where they can visit local businesses and downtown restaurants.

“Since I became governor, I have worked hard to ensure that when state government is investing in our local communities, we are directing our resources towards projects that transform our cities, municipalities, and counties into more livable places to work and live,” Gov. Wolf said. “I want to especially thank Rep. Pat Harkins for his advocacy and help in bringing redevelopment and new opportunities to Erie, including the UPMC Park project.”

Supported through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) program, funding will support critical expansion projects, some of which will provide opportunities for additional economic development.

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