The Erie Downtown Development Corporation started with a $5 million pledge from Erie Insurance; they have raised $21 million to start renovating properties in Erie’s center city.
After a nationwide search, now the EDDC has a leader at the helm, John Persinger. Persinger tells us, “[Tom] said, ‘I may be crazy and you can tell me I am crazy for thinking of this, but here is what I am thinking…’ and my thought was, ‘Crazy, you are talking to the guy who ran for mayor as a Republican!’ [haha]”.
That was the interaction between Persinger and Tim Necastro, EDDC Board President and Erie Insurance CEO about Persinger becoming the CEO of the EDDC. To which, Necastro’s response was, “…there is nothing too crazy”.
Necastro approached Persinger by saying he was impressed by his mayoral campaign. “The thing that impressed me the most about him, in addition to running a clean campaign, was how focused he was to downtown Erie and how passionate he was about it”.
A nationwide search for a CEO started this summer and after all of the interviews, Necastro says, they all lacked one quality… dedication to Erie.
“When the city accepts and embraces somebody, they really can follow that person,” says Necastro. “So, John is not only a natural born leader but he has a following already and I think he comes in with a lot of momentum.”
Persinger says, “the board has done such a fantastic job of raising so much money, studying what other cities have done, and I just want to get in and keep that momentum going”.
Mayor Joe Schember, once going head-to-head with Persinger, says he is looking forward to the opportunity to work with his neighbor and friend. “He is going to do a great job in this role, and I think we are going to accomplish a lot together.”
Persinger is charged with establishing first and second-year plans, negotiating real estate transactions and pulling financing together. The goal: creating apartments and storefronts for downtown living and new business.
Persinger’s appointment is effective March 12th.