Erie’s revitalization efforts are getting a second look from a new set of eyes.  

With millions of dollars invested and momentum moving forward, an outside company is stepping in to help turn those plans into action.  

With new leadership in Erie, change is an ongoing theme for the area.  Now, the decision-makers downtown are taking that idea to the next level.  An outside organization will be visiting town with a goal to shake things up for the better. 

Sometimes, it takes an outside eye to spot what needs fixing in a community.  That’s why the Erie Downtown Development Corporation is announcing a joint effort with the Urban Land Institute.  The ULI is the oldest and largest network of real estate and land use experts in the world, revitalizing more than 180 communities. 

Timothy NeCastro, Board President of the Erie Downtown Development Corporation, says, “Everybody in the city is feeling the momentum of recovery and I think they saw that and said we can help get this organized and orchestrated.” 

This summer, a team of 10-15 ULI representatives will spend a week in Erie conducting an intensive study.  From there, they’ll come up with a detailed plan as to how to improve the downtown area.  

The Board President says this partnership is different from other plans already in motion.  “This is taking the existing plans and getting very specific about what we can do to best utilize our assets in downtown Erie to create a vibrant core.”

The collaboration is all about willingness to change and the city being open to new ideas. Mayor Joe Schember says Erie is ready to take that step, telling us,  “We want to make downtown a place people can live work and play. That’s what’s really important and that’s what this will teach us how to do.” 

Schember says he hopes ULI’s recommendations will be put into place by the fall.  Community leaders are giving those ULI representatives a list of nine questions and by the end of the week, they’re expected to present answers.

The mayor tells us one of those questions has to do with whether or not Erie has the best possible structure of government in place.