Erie County Council supports a $6 million grant for the Millcreek Township Presque Isle Gateway Improvement Project.
The grant would fund improvements to the look of West 8th Street. 55 wooden poles would be removed and replaced with underground utility services.
County Council passed a resolution in support of the 2018 Millcreek Township comprehensive plan, which calls for public investment along West 8th Street, enhancing pedestrian access. Millcreek Township applied for a $6 million grant through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.
“I thought it was important that Erie County as a whole also through there weight behind it to encourage the state to approve the funding for this project.” said Kim Clear, Erie County Councilwoman.
If approved, these funds will improve the 8th Street corridor adjacent to Peninsula Drive, which includes many locally-owned businesses.
Chip Riehl, owner and manager of the Colony Plaza, explains why he believes renovations are necessary.
“That’s where tourists go and if you can have that area, sort of have a theme or look to it that would be attractive and appealing, it would be good for tourism, good for businesses that are along the route.” Riehl said.
About 5 million people have visited Presque Isle State Park in 2020. Riehl says these changes could help visitors see more of what Erie has to offer.
“A little more friendly toward pedestrians, toward bikes, toward shoppers, and I think if there are bike paths and walking paths around here, that would be conducive to more people making use of it.” Riehl said.
One business owner in the Colony Plaza says she believes these improvements will bring positive change and hopes County Council’s support will influence the state.
“I think it would be a huge boost for our business and the other businesses in the Colony Plaza. It’s a wonderful idea and I think it does need to be cleaned up and opened up.” said Holly McMaster, owner of the Juice Jar.
Members of County Council and several Millcreek Township business owners hope the county’s support will get the attention of Governor Tom Wolf’s administration.