Merski, Harkins: $22,500 grant will ensure urban development preserves Erie history, character

ERIE, Sept. 9 – A $22,500 project planning grant awarded by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission will ensure that future development preserves the character and history of Erie’s landscape, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, announced today.

The lawmakers said the grant to the Erie Downtown Partnership, which comes from the Keystone Historic Preservation Grant Program, will fund critical planning to guide future development.

“Erie’s proud history and character are evident in our landscape, and any improvements made must preserve that character,” Merski said. “Securing this funding will help ensure that future development is executed in a way that maintains those special features that are uniquely Erie and beloved by generations of residents.”

Harkins agreed, saying, “A key aspect of urban planning is ensuring that any changes made don’t erase the imprint of past generations that contribute to a city’s unique character and history. The funding awarded today will allow the Erie Downtown Partnership to develop design guidelines for the city’s 14-block core that ensure developers understand the significance of defining features so progress can happen without destroying well-loved landmarks and features from the past.”

The grant is part of a package of $2.6 million in Keystone Historic Preservation grants to help historical and heritage organizations, museums and local governments in 24 counties. The grants receive funding from the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, which is supported annually from a portion of state realty transfer tax revenue.

Fifty-two grants were selected from 94 eligible applications. Amounts for planning project grants such as the Erie grant ranged from $5,000 to $25,000 and will require a 50/50 cash match. Construction grants were also awarded for some projects.

Keystone Historic Preservation grants support projects that identify, preserve, promote and protect historic resources in Pennsylvania. Funding also supports municipal planning that focuses on historic resources or may be used to meet building or community specific planning goals, and construction activities at resources listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. 

Additional information about the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission – the state’s official history agency – is available by visiting PHMC online.