The City of Erie has announced updated plans for the East Bayfront Greenway Trail Project in an effort to fight blight across the city.

Mayor Joe Schember and his team have knocked on 650 doors in the east Erie neighborhood to get a better sense of their needs.

They learned that resident’s top priorities was the lack of recreational areas, parks, and green spaces.

The city’s redevelopment authority along with other departments, have taken the last 10 months to create a plan to utilize vacant land in Erie’s East Bayfront Neighborhoods.

From East 6th to 12th Street and from Parade to Wayne Street, the authority has designed a network of greenways, trails, and parks to positively impact current and future residents.

The redevelopment authority hopes to tackle blight across the city.

“The area is highly distressed. We have a lot of lots in that area already along with some lots over the years that serve erie had put together that we have an investment there. We also have a lot of distressed properties,” said Aaron Snippert, executive director of the Redevelopment Authority for the City of Erie.

The first phase is roughly $2.2 million. $1.5 million is coming from ARP funding and additional money is coming from the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts.

“This was a project that just kept rising to the top because of the really incredible community partnerships that has taken place to advance this work,” said Sarah Merritt, PA Council on the Arts.

One local pastor is using his organization to gather volunteers to make a brighter future for the neighborhood.

“If kids grow up in spaces that aren’t conducive for health and they don’t look well, it’s going impact how they act and how they respond, we want to create safe spaces. We want to create spaces that encourage behavior that represents our city,” said Pastor Darrell Cook, board member of Groundwork Erie.

Pastor Cook invites everyone to come together to create a more resilient Erie.

“Those of us who are adults now, we’re not always going to be here and we want to prepare them that we can pass this along. Erie can continue to get wiser, stronger, and better,” Pastor Cook went on to say.

The city plans to begin phase one of the project next spring.