Erie City Council approved $1.5 million of American Rescue Plan (ARP) dollars for an East Bayfront Neighborhood Plan.

The plan is to add more green space to the city’s lower east side, creating a park and trail network.

“My hope is that it shows that the city is going to make sure that people that live on the east side of town have access to the kind of amenities that those of us who live in more affluent parts of town take for granted,” said Liz Allen, Erie City Council President.

While council approved the funding, not all members are on board. Vice President Michael Keys said he’s concerned about the city’s Redevelopment Authority having control of what happens in urban residential neighborhoods.

Allen believes the plan will benefit city residents.

“An outside agency now has been given carte blanche over one of our neighborhoods, what can they tear down and what they can acquire. I think that an outside agency needs to be oversighted if we’re going to have them execute this plan,” said Michael Keys, Erie City Council Vice President.

“I have no concerns over the Redevelopment Authority. The authority is in good hands. I have gone to the meetings and I have seen the executive director. Anytime I’ve asked for information, he’s reacted to it and he’s proactive,” Allen said.

Erin Carey, City of Erie’s Neighborhood Planner, said in addition to more green space, the Redevelopment Authority plans to invest in nearby residential properties.

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“We’re hoping to do housing repairs directly adjacent to this greenway so that we can double down on the investment that we’re already putting in to this new park space that’s going to be created. We’re also going to be providing additional places that are safe, healthy and affordable that people can live in,” said Erin Carey, City of Erie Neighborhood Planner.