Merski, Harkins: $23 million to fund multiple Erie revitalization projects

Funding for new college, commercial redevelopment, additions to UPMC Park, more

ERIE, Dec. 23 – Erie will be receiving an infusion of $23 million in funding from the state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, state Reps. Patrick Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today.

The lawmakers said the funding includes major capital investments that will spur growth and economic development for the area.

“The funding awarded today brings the promise of major change and revitalization for Erie and our entire region,” Merski said. “The grants will be funding projects that are truly transformative, from a new community college to renovations for Mercyhurst University’s athletic center to new commercial development. We will also see funding to renovate and expand the SeaWolves’ team clubhouse and add a new structure to the park – the kind of investments that help keep our beloved SeaWolves here in Erie.”

Harkins said, “The funding announced today will act as a shot in the arm for economic growth and development by building on so many of Erie’s existing resources. We will see funding to expand Liberty Park, development of new industrial facilities, and expansion and upgrades for many facilities and cultural attractions. All the investments help us attract new businesses, residents and visitors to the area. We appreciate Governor Tom Wolf’s assistance in helping bring this money to Erie.”

The lawmakers said the grants include the following:

  • $10 million to establish a vibrant, sustainable community college in Erie County to help address the challenges the community faces.
  • $3 million for a new structure to be integrated into the UPMC ballpark and arena, additional spaces on the second floor and a Club Venue on the top floor.
  • $2.5 million to expand Liberty Park to include a grand entrance, commercial venues, esplanade, play areas and more.
  • $2 million to for a 90,000-square-foot steel and masonry warehouse and distribution facility at 1501-1503 Myrtle St.
  • $2 million to Mercyhurst University for significant renovations to the athletic center. 
  • $1.5 million for renovation and expansion of the SeaWolves team clubhouse.
  • $1 million for construction of a 22,000-square-foot “Market House,” with parking to include space for two year-round tenants – a grocery store and meat market – and extra space for other seasonal or permanent tenants.
  • $500,000 to the ECAT Wayne Campus Improvement project to provide fully finished space to the newly created UPMC Jameson School of Nursing at UPMC Hamot, including full renovation of the entire Wayne building shell located at 650 East Ave.
  • $500,000 to the Erie Zoo for a state-of-the-art facility for the zoo’s Northern American river otters.

The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program is a grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects.

RACP projects are authorized in the Redevelopment Assistance section of a Capital Budget Itemization Act, have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact, and generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenue or other measures of economic activity.