Bizzarro announces $6M in state funds to spur revitalization efforts

Funding approved for Gateway Project and Erie Zoo

ERIE, Oct. 26 – The nearly 5 million annual visitors to the Erie region will soon have another reason to extend their stay after two projects totaling a combined $6 million in state funding was approved Wednesday. The projects are designed to improve regional assets, revitalize businesses and make the most pleasant experience possible for those visiting Erie, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro announced. 

“My office fought for funding for each of these projects, because they will have a direct and positive impact on the residents in our community,” Bizzarro said. “The Presque Isle Gateway District Plan, which we highlighted when the House Democratic Policy Committee toured Erie in August, will help revitalize businesses along the West 8th Street corridor. Funds will be used to improve access to the businesses located just up the road from the biggest tourism driver in the county – Presque Isle State Park.

“I was also proud to support Erie Zoo, which attracts more than 300,000 visitors each year and contributes an estimated $1.3 million in state and local taxes annually,” Bizzarro added. “Not only will this funding provide Erie Zoo with improved technology to offer the best care possible for its animals in order to keep them healthy, but it will also provide the zoo an opportunity to regain its accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).”   

Funding through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), has been secured for the following projects:

  • $3 million for Millcreek Township and the Presque Isle Gateway District Improvements: Funds will be used for improving pedestrian access, roadway repaving, installation of decorative lighting and underground conduit installation. along West 8th Street. 
  • $3 million for Erie Zoological Society: Funds will be used to construct a new veterinary center at the Erie Zoo, including upgrades for animal treatment, quarantine spaces, isolation areas, surgical rooms and imaging rooms. The improvements will also include limited public viewing spaces. 

“This reinvestment in our community will drive economic development to serve residents and visitors alike,” Millcreek Township Supervisor Kim Clear said. “In order to best serve our residents and the high volume of visitors to the Erie region, it’s necessary to create a Main Street-style corridor in Millcreek – a way to embrace regional assets and improve accessibility. I can’t thank Rep. Bizzarro enough for being a part of the process since Day 1.” 

This $6 million investment in Erie is added to the $500,000 Bizzarro secured for the Gateway project this past April, and $2.5 million in 2019 for the multi-use trail connecting Presque Isle and the Tom Ridge Environmental Center. Overall, Bizzarro has brought back more than $30 million to Erie County in 2022 alone.