Harkins, Merski: More than $1.5 million in tax credits to strengthen education, address blight, assist working families and crime victims

ERIE, Nov. 15 – Tax credits totaling about $1.51 million approved through the Neighborhood Assistance Program will benefit numerous community redevelopment projects in the First and Second Legislative Districts, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today.

“These tax credits are going to fund projects that address real-world needs for low-income residents by improving access to health care, expanding resources for crime victims and addressing blighted, vacant properties, among other things,” Harkins said. “New programs funded by these grants will help transform the landscape -- and peoples’ lives.”

Merski agreed, noting, “In addition to improving life for working families, these tax credits will be used to renovate school facilities, fund academic programs and bring the arts and culture to our residents. Research shows creative programs in the arts improve students’ critical thinking and other skills needed to succeed. It will be truly exciting to see our community flourish with assistance from this funding.”

Merski and Harkins said the entities and amounts receiving the tax credits by district are as follows:

First Legislative District

$82,000 to the Erie Center for Art and Technology to add a pharmacy as part of the Wayne School project.
$33,000 to Erie Arts and Culture to provide access to cultural experiences for low-income youth.
$55,000 to Erie Arts and Culture to offer direct support for artists to expand their work.
$30,250 to the Inner City Neighborhood Art House to offer a free art program to inner-city children.
$24,750 to SafeNet to rehabilitate a property for shelter occupant housing
$27,500 to Mercy Center for Women to provide education and job skills for women in the center.
$23,650 to ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum for a Mobile Museum to reach distressed communities.
$16,500 to Early Connections (both First and Second Districts) for laps and curriculum tools
$280,000 to Bayfront East Side Task Force to repurpose three vacant lots in the community.

$75,000 to Urban Erie Community Development Corp. to repurpose a 24-acre site for low-income housing.
$165,000 to Climate Changers Inc. to renovate a property for transitional housing for former inmates.
$157,500 to Mercy Center for Women to develop permanent housing for homeless women.
$86,250 to St. Martin Center for programs to build responsible tenants and homeowners.

Second Legislative District

$1,375 to Gannon University for an after-school STEM program.
$33,000 to the Erie Playhouse to use performance art to increase literacy and academic performance.
$20,625 to Mother Teresa Academy for building repairs to the main building and gymnasium.
$30,250 to the Erie Philharmonic to create an educational performance program for students.
$30,800 to the Erie Historical Society to build historical exhibits for the community.
$11,000 to the Erie Zoological Society for expansions to allow for greater visitation.
$27,500 to SSJ Neighborhood Network (both First and Second Districts).
$140,000 to Gannon University to improve property conditions and strengthen neighborhoods.
$26,250 to Community Shelter Services for building repairs and improvements.
$60,000 to Erie DAWN to assist families with support and intense case management.

$76,500 to the Crime Victim Center of Erie for a sexual assault response center.

The tax credits are part of a $26.5 million package funded through the Neighborhood Assistance Program to promote community participation and collaborations among nonprofits, businesses and residents while producing outcomes that assist a distressed area or the low-income population in a neighborhood. The credits will support 197 community revitalization projects across the commonwealth.