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Eastside Grassroots Coalition reveals plan for east side Erie improvements

There are several plans in motion with a common goal to better Erie County, but community leaders say one area has been getting overlooked until now. 

There's so much happening in this area from developments on the Bayfront to new businesses across the county.  And, members of the Eastside Grassroots Coalition say it's time that part of town gets some attention. 

For 28 years, Samella Hudson-Brewton has worked at the JFK Center on East 20th Street and she says this neighborhood has, in some ways, been excluded from the efforts to beautify Erie. "I think it's very important that we do build up our neighborhoods and make them what they should be for everybody." A sentiment shared with the Eastside Grassroots Coalition.

They're unveiling a new strategic plan that focuses on re-energizing neighborhoods in the central east area of the city, which includes the area east of the Bayfront Highway from 12th Street as far south as the eastside connector and east of Bird Drive. 

Developers say the goals for 2018-2023 include improving the neighborhood, fostering youth development, and attracting private and public investment. 

Michele Schroeck, Sister of Mercy, says, "We want to make sure that the needs on the east side, which maybe are not forefront to the downtown area in Erie, aren't left out." 

But members of the coalition say they need help putting the plan into action. That's why they're reaching out to the state for potential tax credits and assistance programs.

Rick Vilello, Deputy Secretary of Community Affairs, says, "I'm sure there's gonna be projects that fit the state programs, so figuring out what we can fund and what the locals can fund and what partnerships we can form..."

The coalition is looking for corporate stakeholders to contribute as well.  They say it's in an effort to turn the challenges on the east side of Erie into opportunities. 

Organizers say they wanted to align this plan with the already popular Erie Refocused Plan.


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