Harkins, Merski: Erie senior centers to benefit from nearly $50,000 in grants

(Jan 07, 2021)

ERIE, Jan. 7 – State funding of $49,383 will help Erie’s senior centers weather the financial impact of the pandemic so they can continue serving the needs of older adults and resume full-scale operations in the future, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers said the funding from the state Department of Aging will go to the area’s agency on aging – the Greater Erie Community Action Committee Agency – to be divided equally among the county’s senior community centers. “ Our area’s senior centers provide Erie’s older adults with incredibly important connections to the community,” Harkins said. “But like all other businesses and organizations, they are feeling the economic brunt of the pandemic keenly. This funding is going to give them the shot in the arm they need to continue operating so they can safely welcome seniors back to a full range of engaging activities once it is safe to do so.” Merski said: “Our local Erie senior centers offer older adults access to vital services such as nutritious meals and transportation, but they also provide so much more in terms of quality of life –fitness, learning, volunteering and all the other activities that keep seniors engaged. “The funding announced today will be a lifeline for our area centers, which will be able to use the money Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $30,000 awarded to Mercyhurst University as part of statewide campaign to combat campus sexual assault

(Jan 06, 2021)

ERIE, Jan. 6 – A $29,250 grant to Mercyhurst University under the state’s “It’s On Us” program will help ensure students remain safe from the threat of sexual violence, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers said the grant will help the school implement strategies to raise awareness about sexual violence and prevention, the reporting process and the resources available for survivors. “Sexual violence has no place in our community, but the reality is that it can happen anywhere –including college campuses – with devastating effects,” Merski said. “College is a place for young adults to learn, thrive and mature, but that’s only possible if they feel safe. The grant funding awarded will help ensure Mercyhurst has the resources it needs to maintain the safest possible environment for all students.” Harkins said: “No student should live in fear, but banishing the threat of sexual violence requires resources and vigilance. This grant will fund programs to raise awareness about this repugnant crime, help prevent campus assaults, and ensure students are aware of protections, reporting procedures and other available resources.” The funding for Mercyhurst University is part of a package of grants to postsecondary schools statewide. The schools use the funding for programs ranging from campus-wide training for students, educators and staff to campaigns to raise Read more

 

Harkins sworn in to eighth term representing state’s 1st Legislative District

(Jan 05, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 5 – State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, was sworn in today at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, beginning his eighth term representing Pennsylvania’s 1st Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Reaffirming his commitment to the Erie community, Harkins said his top priority will be helping residents and business owners overcome the multiple challenges created by the pandemic. “I am deeply committed to fighting for our district and ensuring that residents and small business owners get the funding they need to make it through this period,” Harkins said. “COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our community, threatening the survival of mom-and-pop businesses, destroying jobs and making it hard for families to meet basic living expenses. “My No. 1 priority in the year ahead will be bringing more money back to our district so we can begin to see meaningful recovery. At the same time, I will be working to expand access to job opportunities, affordable housing, and the quality health care and public education our residents deserve. “Even as the pandemic made life so difficult, Erie residents responded with strength and generosity. I am so proud to represent our district, and I plan to do everything in my power to help us build back quickly and return to a healthy local economy.” Harkins said his Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: More than $162k to launch Erie watershed steward program

(Dec 30, 2020)

ERIE, Dec. 30 – A $162,422 grant to the Pennsylvania State University will help ensure Erie volunteers have the knowledge and resources they need to keep stewardship of the coastal region alive and well, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener Program will fund the Erie launch of the Master Watershed Steward Program, which will train volunteers in watershed management so they can educate the community based on the latest university research and recommendations. “The steward program will broaden the knowledge base of Erie’s many volunteers who are devoted to caring for our coast and protecting our watershed,” said Harkins, who is a member of the Great Lakes Commission. “Armed with the latest information and research, those volunteers can pass this information along at the local level. Launch of the program in our area – made possible by this funding – is going to ensure that our precious lake region benefits from state-of-the-state conservation and management techniques.” Merski said: “Erie has some incredibly talented volunteers who understand our coastal region’s unique needs. But maintaining a balance between use and enjoyment on one hand and preservation of delicate ecosystems on the other is a constant Read more

 

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

(Dec 23, 2020)

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 Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: More than $250,000 in Lake Erie coastal grants awarded

(Dec 17, 2020)

ERIE, Dec. 17 – Grant funding of $252,717 from the state Department of Environmental Protection will support efforts to protect and preserve Lake Erie’s coastal zone region and fund related projects, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the grants will fund technical support and assistance for ongoing efforts to manage and protect the Lake Erie watershed; testing and analysis of algae-based toxins; rehabilitation of the Lakeside Park boat launch ramp, resources for an educational camp, and other projects. “One of the unique aspects of Erie County is that more than three-quarters of our residents live within a coastal zone,” said Harkins, who is a member of the Great Lakes Commission. “Having that concentrated population stresses the ecosystem and creates problems such as nonpoint source pollution, water quality issues and shoreline erosion that threaten the natural environment. This funding is going to help us stave off these threats. “Our district is also receiving nearly $50,000 to restore the Lakeside Park boat launch ramp infrastructure and restore it to its original condition for residents to ensure maximum safe use for residents.” Merski said: “Those of us who grew up along Lake Erie’s shores understand the special joys – and many economic benefits – the lake provides. But Read more

 

Rep. Pat Harkins' Pandemic Help Sheet

(Dec 17, 2020)

Rep. Pat Harkins' Pandemic Help Sheet Read more

 

Erie officials debut new firetruck, thank Harkins, Merski for securing funding

(Dec 16, 2020)

ERIE, Dec. 16 – At a news conference this morning, Erie city and fire officials unveiled the latest addition to the Erie Fire Department’s fleet: a new engine acquired with state funding secured by Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said securing $300,000 toward the purchase of a 2020 Pierce pumper truck – the second truck they helped the department obtain in two years – provided a chance to give something back to the city’s frontline heroes. “Erie firefighters are asked to do so much with such limited resources, and they always rise to the challenge,” said Harkins. “They have worked hard through the years to maintain an aging fleet of vehicles. “Despite those efforts, the older trucks and equipment begin requiring more frequent and costly repairs, to the point where maintenance is no longer cost-effective. Securing funding for fleet upgrades like this one and last year’s new rig for the crews of Engine 6 means less down time for crews, more cost-efficient operations and, ultimately, savings for Erie’s taxpayers.” Merski said: “ As a former Erie city council member, I know there is a need to replace our aging fire apparatus, with many engines at the end of their recommended time as frontline vehicles. Replacing a fire engine is a very expensive line item for the city budget, and financial challenges Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $2.6 million will bring high-speed broadband access to more Erie residents, businesses

(Dec 10, 2020)

ERIE, Dec. 10 – Nearly 3,100 Erie residents and business owners will gain access to high-speed internet, thanks to nearly $2.59 million in funding from the Federal Communications Commission awarded to companies serving the region, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced. The Erie lawmakers said the funding will bring long-awaited access to many of the region’s underserved residents. “Internet is nearly as critical as power and light these days, yet high-speed, reliable access is still not universally available to families throughout our region,” Merski said. “The ability to connect to the outside world should never depend on a resident’s ZIP code, but unfortunately, that has been the reality for many low-income households. This funding has the prospect of finally leveling the playing field for many area families.” Harkins said: “With the pandemic limiting outings and restricting so many life activities, residents are depending more than ever on the internet – for shopping, working, checking in with relatives, and more. A reliable, high-speed connection is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity. But for far too long, underserved families in our region have lacked access. The funding announced today is terrific news because it is a step toward leveling the playing field and ensuring all households – regardless of location – have the access Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: $200,000 to enhance Erie building code, permitting operations

(Dec 10, 2020)

ERIE, Dec. 10 – A $200,000 grant will allow the city of Erie to purchase computer equipment and software needed to keep building code enforcement and permitting operations running smoothly, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today . The lawmakers said the funding from the state Department of Community and Economic Development will also allow the city’s code enforcement office to retain a consultant to guide effective, cost-efficient purchasing. “Building code enforcement and permitting are critically important services that impact both the safety of residents and business patrons and the economic operations of local businesses,” Harkins said. “Equipment and software purchased with this funding will be indispensable to department staff in managing reports and workflow, addressing concerns and following up on compliance.” Merski said: “While computer software can never take the place of hands-on site inspection, computer systems and software can make certain operations – including receiving and processing applications, reviewing plans and tracking code compliance – much more efficient. This funding is going to give code enforcement officers and related staff the tools they need to streamline and enhance operations for the benefit of residents, business owners, builders and the entire community.” The grant was made Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: More than $1.4 million to fund anti-crime, victim support and youth mentoring programs in Erie County

(Dec 09, 2020)

ERIE, Dec. 9 – Grant funding of $1.44 million will bolster programs and services to reduce crime, assist domestic violence and sexual assault victims and support at-risk youth in Erie County, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the funding – administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency – includes seven grants to different county criminal justice and social service agencies and will work to improve the lives of those most in danger. “We can’t all thrive as a community unless all of us are safe and free from harm,” Merski said. “The PCCD funding awarded today will help those most in need by providing services, justice, and a second chance at a normal life.” Harkins said: “Victims of domestic violence and child abuse need a voice, and they get that through the terrific advocates who work for our agencies. This funding is going to help those workers provide the best possible support for those who are working to throw off trauma and regain strong, healthy lives.” The grants will go to the following agencies and projects in the following amounts: County Adult Probation and Parole Advisory Committee – improve adult probation services Erie County Improvement of Adult Probation Services $463,030 Victims’ Services Advisory Committee - bolster services for domestic and sexual Read more

 

Erie lawmakers, officials applaud MLB decision to keep ties to SeaWolves

(Dec 09, 2020)

ERIE, Dec. 9 – Erie lawmakers issued the following statement in response to news that the SeaWolves have made the cut as one of the minor league affiliates selected by Major League Baseball as it reorganizes and downsizes its minor league baseball system from 160 to 120 teams. “The MLB’s announcement today was the best call Erie could have received,” state Rep. Pat Harkins said. “Our community has a unique relationship with the SeaWolves, with ties that run deep for so many of us. Years ago, my father worked with city officials to get the stadium built, and since then, it has been a place for our community to cheer together – and also a significant source of jobs and revenue. “When we learned the MLB was considering cutting ties, we did all we could to make sure the baseball commissioners understood the depth of Erie’s commitment. I’m thrilled that our efforts to keep the team here ended in a win so we can continue rooting for our hometown heroes.” State Rep. Bob Merski said, “Today’s news from the MLB means that our beloved SeaWolves will stay right here in Erie, where they belong. Beyond the entertainment value, the decision means Erie will continue to reap the tremendous economic benefits that go with hosting a double-A-list sports team. It also means that the state and city’s multimillion-dollar stadium investment was not in vain. The Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: More than $2.6 million in tax credits to spur investment in housing, job training, blight reduction for Erie

(Dec 08, 2020)

ERIE, Dec. 8 – Tax credits totaling $2.64 million under the state Neighborhood Assistance Program will leverage investments in projects to improve life for Erie residents, address blight and stimulate business growth, Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the tax credit program is especially helpful this year, as more residents are struggling because of the pandemic. “The investments generated by these tax credits are going to deal with immediate needs facing our community – from addressing food insecurity and creating affordable housing to providing additional learning opportunities for kids from low-income households,” Harkins said. “This year, programs that address quality of life are especially important, and this new infusion of tax credits is going to spur investment that empower residents to overcome obstacles, gain greater independence and productivity.” Merski agreed, saying, “In addition to assisting residents, the infusion of funding these tax credits will bring is going to change the landscape, quite literally, by helping to transform blighted, vacant areas into business-friendly, family-friendly spaces. Investments of this kind provide the catalyst for change that open the door to opportunities for our industrious small business community and hardworking families.” The lawmakers said $1.82 million in tax credits will leverage investments Read more

 

Rep. Pat Harkins' 2021 Capitol Scenes calendar

(Dec 04, 2020)

Rep. Pat Harkins' 2021 Capitol Scenes calendar is now available to download. Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: More than $17,500 in grants awarded to fund historical society, children’s museum

(Dec 02, 2020)

ERIE, Dec. 2 – Grant funding of $17,563 will support the operations of the Erie County Historical Society and the expERIEnce Children’s Museum, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said that funding from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission includes $10,436 to the historical society and $7,127 to the museum. “We all appreciate the unique place Erie is, but it’s the artifacts and documents – the physical pieces of our history – that give us the perspective and understanding that explains how we got here and how far we have come,” Harkins said. “By archiving and chronicling our past, the historical society keeps us in touch with our roots and with the things that make us proud to be Erie residents. This funding is going to help it continue operating so it can preserve that history for generations to come.” Merski said, “In addition to supporting the Erie County Historical Society, the funding today is helping fund operations of the expERIEnce Children’s Museum, which provides incredible hands-on opportunities for learning. Kids are incredibly receptive to information they can process with all their senses, and the museum’s vivid events and displays offer experiences they will remember far longer than simple textbook lessons. “Today’s funding comes at an important time for both Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: More than $200,000 for pandemic-related shelter needs

(Nov 30, 2020)

ERIE, Nov. 30 – Erie residents facing homelessness will have greater protection thanks to $200,365 in CARES Act funding to area shelters and relief organizations, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, announced today . The lawmakers said the grant funding from the CARES Act will protect residents from combined threats during a particularly dangerous season. “Homelessness is brutal under any circumstances, but for Pennsylvanians without shelter during the pandemic, it can be a nightmare,” Merski said. “Securing this funding means that folks in our area who need it will have a warm bed and a place to keep themselves and their loved ones safe while they work to rebuild their lives.” Harkins said, “Home is a safe harbor from the harsh realities of winter and other dangers. This year, residents are facing additional, deadly risks – they need protection from freezing temperatures and unprecedented health risks. Thanks to this funding, there will be a safe harbor for them – and peace of mind.” The lawmakers said the funding will be shared by the following emergency shelter providers: Erie United Methodist Alliance (also provides street outreach). Community of Caring. Safe Journey. Community Shelter Services. The City Mission. Pennsylvania received a second allocation of Read more

 

Bizzarro, Merski, Harkins: Millcreek public library receives $25,000 grant

(Nov 12, 2020)

ERIE, Nov. 12 – A $25,000 state Keystone grant will fund a needs assessment and relocation feasibility study for the Erie County Public Library’s Millcreek branch, state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Bob Merski, and Pat Harkins, all D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the funding from the state Department of Education supports a beloved community resource. “Millcreek Library has worked so hard to foster a love of books in our community,” Bizzarro said. “Even amidst the pandemic, they’ve served as a wonderful resource and continue to provide learning opportunities. This grant will help the library assess its needs so it can continue to enrich our community.” Merski agreed, saying, “With the pandemic having such an isolating effect, it’s especially helpful for people to have a safe gathering place where they can go to search information, attend programs with their kids, or simply relax and interact with neighbors. Securing this funding is going to help the Millcreek branch determine how it can best expand and improve access to those resources.” Harkins said, “Having an accessible community library with open doors is critical because it reminds people that despite how life has changed, there is a still safe, familiar harbor out there. The funding awarded today is an investment in a resource that provides help, hope and a place for people to share common ground.” Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: $75,000 grant will fund home repairs for Erie residents

(Oct 29, 2020)

ERIE, Oct. 29 – Low- to moderate-income Erie homeowners will get some assistance with needed housing repairs, thanks to a $75,000 grant to the City of Erie from the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the grant will fund individual projects to enhance housing safety. “Above all else, home should be a safe haven during the pandemic,” Merski said. “Residents struggling to meet basic household expenses should not have to worry about malfunctioning heating equipment or structural defects that threaten their families’ safety.” Harkins agreed, saying, “Thanks to this funding, eligible homeowners will be able to apply for assistance with projects like fixing faulty hot water tanks or furnaces, renovating dangerous structural elements like broken porch railings, and completing other small projects that are key to keeping their loved ones safe.” The legislators said the application process is expected to begin sometime in the next month – with additional details to come – and will be available for households with incomes below 50% of the area median income. Individual projects cannot exceed $3,000. Read more

 

Merski, Bizzarro Harkins: Liquor license fee waiver will help area bars, restaurants

(Oct 22, 2020)

ERIE, Oct. 22 – A state plan in the works to waive liquor license fees for Pennsylvania’s struggling bars, restaurants and clubs during 2021 will bring an important measure of relief for these critical local businesses, state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, all D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the administration’s plan – which is awaiting final approval from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board – would allow local restaurant and bar owners retain the critical capital they need to stay afloat. “Months of operating under pandemic restrictions have exacted a devastating toll on our area’s family restaurants, bars and clubs, and some creative solutions were definitely needed to help them survive,” Merski said. “Last week, I joined several colleagues in asking the governor to work out a fee waiver plan. “Although it’s not a cure-all for the huge financial challenges that lay ahead and a restaurant relief package is needed as soon as possible, the waiver will help these local mom-and-pop businesses that are so very important to our local economy, and any relief we can provide now is a good thing.” Bizzarro said, “I am happy to see progress being made to support the service industry. These savings will provide great relief to the local restaurants, bars and clubs that have served as a backdrop for many of Read more

 

Harkins bill would create hazard pay program for charitable nonprofit workers

(Oct 22, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 22 – Legislation introduced by state Rep. Pat Harkins would create a new grant program providing hazard pay for nonprofit employees performing charitable services on the front lines of the pandemic. Harkins, D-Erie, said he introduced H.B. 2931 to ensure that these nonprofit workers, who face the same dangers as other employees, are not passed over for compensation. “There are scores of nonprofit workers on the front lines of this pandemic,” said Harkins, who is Democratic chairman of the House Labor and Industry Committee. “They are distributing food at food banks, operating shelters for those needing a warm bed, and carrying out other charitable services providing comfort and support to Pennsylvanians in need. “Much like other frontline employees, these workers are knowingly placing themselves in harm’s way to help others, and we need to stand with them and support them. We can do that by making sure they have the same chance at compensation for those risks.” Harkins said that like the state’s original hazard pay program, his proposed grant program for nonprofits providing a vital charitable purpose during the pandemic would be funded with CARES Act dollars. Employees whose employers were approved would be eligible for an additional $3 per hour for a 10-week period. The state’s original hazard pay program launched over the summer provided $50 million to 639 employers, resulting in Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: Erie senior centers to benefit from nearly $50,000 in grants
Jan 07, 2021

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $30,000 awarded to Mercyhurst University as part of statewide campaign to combat campus sexual assault
Jan 06, 2021

Harkins sworn in to eighth term representing state’s 1st Legislative District
Jan 05, 2021

Harkins, Merski: More than $162k to launch Erie watershed steward program
Dec 30, 2020

Merski, Harkins: $23 million to fund multiple Erie revitalization projects
Dec 23, 2020

Harkins, Merski: More than $250,000 in Lake Erie coastal grants awarded
Dec 17, 2020

Rep. Pat Harkins' Pandemic Help Sheet
Dec 17, 2020

Erie officials debut new firetruck, thank Harkins, Merski for securing funding
Dec 16, 2020

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $2.6 million will bring high-speed broadband access to more Erie residents, businesses
Dec 10, 2020

Harkins, Merski: $200,000 to enhance Erie building code, permitting operations
Dec 10, 2020

Harkins, Merski: More than $1.4 million to fund anti-crime, victim support and youth mentoring programs in Erie County
Dec 09, 2020

Erie lawmakers, officials applaud MLB decision to keep ties to SeaWolves
Dec 09, 2020

Harkins, Merski: More than $2.6 million in tax credits to spur investment in housing, job training, blight reduction for Erie
Dec 08, 2020

Rep. Pat Harkins' 2021 Capitol Scenes calendar
Dec 04, 2020

Harkins, Merski: More than $17,500 in grants awarded to fund historical society, children’s museum
Dec 02, 2020

Merski, Harkins: More than $200,000 for pandemic-related shelter needs
Nov 30, 2020

Bizzarro, Merski, Harkins: Millcreek public library receives $25,000 grant
Nov 12, 2020

Merski, Harkins: $75,000 grant will fund home repairs for Erie residents
Oct 29, 2020

Merski, Bizzarro Harkins: Liquor license fee waiver will help area bars, restaurants
Oct 22, 2020

Harkins bill would create hazard pay program for charitable nonprofit workers
Oct 22, 2020