Wolf Administration Announces Millions in State Investments to Support Revitalization Efforts in Erie

March 17, 2017

Erie, PA – Today, on behalf of Governor Tom Wolf, Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin announced $3.6 million in new state investments designed to spur economic development and support revitalization throughout the City of Erie. This announcement follows the nearly $10 million in recent commitments from administration to support growth and development in Erie.

“The announcements made today are great news for the City of Erie as the state is committed to making impactful investments that will further spur the revitalization efforts taking place within the community and local economy,” Governor Wolf said. “We are proud to partner with Erie, working side-by-side to support their vision for future growth.”

Davin joined Erie community leaders from both the public and private sectors to announce a number of approved projects. He noted that the investments were made possible through PennDOT’s multimodal port programming, as well as from funding available through DCED’s Keystone Communities Program.

“The combined efforts of the state through PennDOT and DCED detailed today illustrate our commitment to making impactful investments in our communities, utilizing multiple state agencies and funding sources as well as local partners to support efforts to make a difference in our communities and the lives of the people who live here,” said Sec. Davin. “The businesses and institutions in this region are stepping forward and are making an investment of nearly half a billion dollars to revitalize downtown Erie. Governor Wolf recognizes and applauds these private efforts.”

The Keystone Communities Program is designed to encourage partnerships between the public and private sectors that jointly support local initiatives to grow and stabilize neighborhoods and communities; social and economic diversity; and a strong and secure quality of life. The program allows communities to tailor the assistance to their specific revitalization needs.

Today Davin announced three new Keystone Communities projects in Erie:

  • $50,000 to the Bayfront East Side Taskforce for its 2016-17 façade efforts: Funds will be used for a façade improvement program targeting homeowners along the most highly traveled areas of the Bayfront East Side neighborhood. At least 10 façade projects will be completed with these funds.
  • $500,000 to the City of Erie towards the ‘Erie Refocused: Strategic Blight Reduction’ initiative: Funds will be used to improve neighborhood housing by acquiring and demolishing 34 blighted properties, renovating 16 homeowner units, and turning six properties into neighborhood beautification projects.
  • $50,000 to the Erie Downtown Partnership for its Downtown District Gateways Project: Funds will be used for the design, fabrication, and installation of gateway signage and fixtures to identify each of the four downtown districts as well as create awareness for the unique characteristics of downtown Erie.

Additionally, today Davin announced that the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority has been awarded a $3 million multimodal ports grant from PennDOT to make significant renovations to the dry dock at the Donjon shipyard facility in the City of Erie. This investment ensures the safety of employees and continued business growth associated with the rehabilitation and supports 250 positions. This investment accompanies the recent award of $1,054,742 million by the Commonwealth Financing Authority to fund a portion of the project. Donjon’s dry dock is one of only two 1,000 foot dry docks on all of the Great Lakes.

“Our ports are vital to commerce and goods movement in Pennsylvania,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said. “This is one more example of how transportation investment supports jobs and stimulates local economies.”

During the past year, numerous other projects have been announced and awarded funding in the Erie region, including the approval of $8 million for two projects through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. The Bayfront Harbor Place Hotel & Office Complex project will receive $5 million to assist with phase one of the $150 million proposed waterfront redevelopment project.

In addition to today’s announcements, Davin highlighted a number of investments the Wolf Administration has committed to Erie in recent months. Last October, the Governor announced a public/private partnership with Velocity Network (VNET) to assist with its relocation efforts in the City of Erie. As a result of collaboration with the Governor’s Action Team, VNET is investing millions of dollars to renovate a vacant, blighted building in the core of Erie’s downtown, resulting in 53 jobs.

Other ongoing efforts for Erie area neighborhood revitalization supported by DCED are:

  • The Sisters of St. Joseph Neighborhood Network will receive $1.5 million in corporate contributions over the next six years through DCED’s Neighborhood Partnership Program (NPP) to assist with revitalization efforts in the Little Italy neighborhood.
  • The Our West Bayfront neighborhood will receive $1,050,000 of corporate contributions over the next six years through NPP.
  • DCED approved an Enterprise Zone designation for the City to help attract businesses. The Keystone Enterprise Zone designation addresses deteriorated, distressed, and blighted industrial and manufacturing areas. The designation and subsequent Five-Year Strategy is designed to improve standards of living through revitalization, attraction of new business, and creating job opportunities.

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