PNC Bank and its foundation want to help downtown Erie grow. So, it’s donating money to the Erie Downtown Development Corporation. Ron Hilliard learned more about the donation today.
PNC is donating $400,000; just over half of that coming form the PNC Foundation and the rest coming from the bank. It’s money that will support the costs of bringing people downtown, not just to work and play, but to live.
The Cashier’s House is getting some 21st Century attention. Workers are installing new electrical wiring, phone lines, and internet for the headquarters of the EDDC. The program’s CEO, John Persinger, spent hours moving furniture into the building, a contribution from UPMC Hamot. “We’ve been in the process of identifying some office furniture, moving it in, getting basic supplies, bringing in utilities…”
The foundation is in its infancy, but Persinger says business and community leaders have already raised more than $25 million to acquire real estate, especially residential properties. It’s money that could open doors for economic development.
Persinger tells us, “We had someone who popped their head in and said, ‘I’ve been working downtown for 22 years and I’ve never seen this door open.’ So, it’s these simple things that we’re starting to do to really turn around Downtown Erie.”
But reaching those goals means operational cost. The EDDC has more than $2.4 million allocated toward the cost of salaries and rent, and that includes a new donation of $400,000 from PNC Bank.
Regional President of Erie PNC Jim Stevenson says, “It’s important to PNC because we thrive when our communities thrive, and we believe this is the best opportunity for us to drive meaningful long-term change in our area.”
Persinger adds, “It’s so exciting. We’re so incredibly grateful to PNC. It’s a sign of the momentum that the EDDC has been generating, the excitement that we’ve been generating downtown.” He says even while he and the organization’s other two employees settle in, they’re actively working to acquire the EDDC’s first property.
The furniture is just being moved into the building, but the staff has been in the building for a couple of weeks.
Going forward, the plan is for the first floor will feature community space and pop up retail, the headquarters will occupy the second floor, and they’ll sublease the third floor.