ERIE, Pa. –The future of downtown Erie could be looking up as a proposed innovation district downtown is funded and expected to bring hundreds of jobs to the region.
It’s a district that will combine students and leading edge businesses in Erie to create jobs, business alliance and growth.
The project, which is spearheaded by Mercyhurst University, received $4 million in grant money from the Erie Community Foundation, the Erie County Gaming and Revenue Authority and the Susan Hirt Hagen Fund.
“You take entrepreneurial companies, you place them in one specific geographic location and they feed off of each other’s energy and they exchange ideas to create more new and innovative products,” Mercyhurst University President Michael Victor said.
The district will bring together Erie Insurance, Velocity Network and McManis & Monsalve Associates, who are all experts in cyber security.
“Corporate partners will locate part of their operations there that are dealing with safety and cyber security, Victor said “and then also go and attract new and additional partners”
Innovation districts are intended to reshape cities and promote economic growth, according to a news release. They work by combining institutions to build partnerships across sectors, to transform cities that attract new business.
During the first year of the project, Mercyhurst will hire both a nationally known expert on creating innovation districts and an executive director to ensure the success of the project.
The university will create the infrastructure with its partners, finalize site selection in downtown Erie, and determine cost estimates for renovations.