State representatives gathered to hear from Pennsylvanians regarding proposed projects to help improve and highlight sites around the region.
In about 2 years and 10 months, the United States will be celebrating 250 years, and representatives gathered to prepare for that milestone.
America250PA held their second hearing for Region One of the Commonwealth’s Infrastructure Improvements & Projects Committee.
The committee, made up of state representatives, heard 18 testifiers propose legacy projects that they would like to see completed by 2026 for the 250th anniversary of when the United States was founded.
“We have heard so many different proposals across the commonwealth. We hear historical preservation, we hear ADA accessibility,” said Cassandra Coleman, executive director of America250PA. “Ultimately it will come down to the legislator and whether or not they decided to fund the legacy projects.”
America250PA is the state’s commission that is in charge of planning and coordinating all projects and events around the anniversary.
“America250PA is very blessed to have a bicameral, bipartisan support. We believe that we are Pennsylvanians first no matter what party affiliation,” Coleman said.
One presenter proposed highlighting Erie’s historical significance by building period accurate forts and a new interpretive center.
“Erie was established by three world powers that vide for activity on our Bayfront, the French, British and American,” said Jeremy Bloeser, executive director of Bayfront East Side Taskforce. “We would like to reestablish and create a historical assets there in our neighborhood.”
Bloeser focused on the American fort Thursday, pinpointing where its located and said there are artifacts in site.
“It’s going to be something that helps them celebrate what they are achieving to celebrate American history as well as something that will last for many many years and help us attract people into our neighborhood,” Bloeser said.
“Part of America’s freedom was secured here. We have Oliver Hazard Perry, the saying ‘don’t give up the ship’ which was coined by him. We’re looking forward to move some things out to the rest of the county so we can really put Erie on the map,” said Dan Laughlin, PA state senator (R-49).
Bloeser is hopeful for the future of his proposal and says it’s something that tells the story of the past but will also be here for future generations to enjoy.