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Tuesday, October 22 • 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Erie Refocused: A University's Role in Private, Public, and Non-Profit Urban Revitalization

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A jarring comprehensive decision making guide, Erie Refocused, challenged Erie, Pennsylvania to address root causes of decades of Post-Industrial decline. This intensive study bluntly laid out Erie’s past, current reality, and perilous future chiding all sectors to immediately and fully engage in a cohesive economic development strategy to turn the trend of economic decline toward growth. This $600 million comprehensive plan was published on the heels of a close mayoral election. Mayor Schember (D) was sworn in and John Persinger, the republican nominee, was appointed as President and Executive Director of a new Erie Downtown Development Corporation funded by ($28M) of private business investment including $10M million from the three downtown anchor institutions, Erie Insurance, Gannon University, and UPMC Hamot Hospital. Neighborhood revitalization initiatives in key downtown east-side (BEST) and west-side (OWB) neighborhoods book-ending the urban commercial core also received enhanced attention and investment. Regional university efforts to drive innovation and business and job creation were being organized around an Innovation Beehive hub design and new leadership and alignment of the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership poised to support business attraction and support. This panel will explore opportunities and challenges inherently exposing unifying and competing interests as a city and region attempt to focus on increasing the tax base and potential for market-rate and mixed-income housing while accentuating business and job growth and a city-wide attention on inclusion and diversity. Panel participants represent and reflect the various players and perspectives in an urban center setting out to transform itself.


Anna Frantz

Executive Director, Our West Bayfront

Keith Taylor

President, Gannon Universiity

Erika Ramalho

Director, Community and Government Relations, Gannon University

John Persinger

President and Executive Director, Erie Downtown Development Corporation

Kathy Wyrosdick

Planning Director, City of Erie

Tuesday October 22, 2019 3:00pm - 4:00pm EDT
Commonwealth A2