Mayor Tina Harris

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Letter from the Mayor:
Downtown Framework Plan
Preserves & Enhances Erie’s Character  

March 1, 2017

The number one reason people love our Downtown events is because they are Downtown.  Historic Downtown Erie has a unique character that exemplifies the “small town” feel so many of us need and enjoy.  So before our summer season of special events kicks off, and before the crowds return, I wanted to share a few details of the recently approved Downtown Redevelopment Framework Plan designed to preserve and enhance Downtown Erie’s character.

Over the past several years, we’ve taken several steps to cement our position as a unique, historic downtown that provides a variety of opportunities for new restaurants, retail, office, recreation and community events. (Just think redeveloping the old fire station into Echo Brewery and our Neighborhood Block Parties.)   And whether you’ve lived here for years or have recently moved to one of our new residential neighborhoods, you are most likely seeking the experiences provided in a historic downtown with a contemporary small town atmosphere.

The Downtown Redevelopment Framework Plan identifies specific components and suggests possible future physical improvements as well as planning and redevelopment strategies that will guide and inform redevelopment opportunities and future public improvements.  In short, the Plan will: help manage Town assets in a thoughtful sustainable manner; contribute to a healthy, vibrant, welcoming and economically strong Downtown; and create and promote the Historic Downtown core as “The Place” to gather, live, work, and play, experiencing the very pedestrian scale town that once was typical of small rural communities in the west.

The Board specifically asked our consultant to look at one of the chief concerns for Downtown businesses and visitors - parking and traffic circulation.  

Here’s how the Plan addresses our concerns:
  • There are several public off street parking areas that are proposed in Coal Creek Park and recently constructed at Town Hall that will provide over 200 new parking spaces.
  • The Downtown is surrounded by trail systems with both local and regional connectivity. Providing dedicated bike lanes into the Downtown Core from these trail networks is vital to any redevelopment scenario. 
  • Access from Coal Creek Trail through Coal Creek Park will be provided as part of the future redevelopment of Coal Creek Park.
  • Locating bike parking areas throughout the Town is also important to not only encourage bike use but also reduce the impact of hit and miss bike parking on the pedestrian corridor.

In keeping with the streetscape design already in place on the 500 block of Briggs Street, the improvements to the streetscape along Wells Street will create a consistent pedestrian corridor.

There are several new infill development projects of privately owned properties within the Downtown and Neighborhood Districts in various stages of the Town’s review process.  This Plan outlines the responsibilities of private developers to design projects in a manner that is sensitive to and reflects the character of the surrounding neighborhood. Important design elements such as building scale and building architectural compatibility must be considered.

It’s no accident that Downtown Erie has grown in popularity over the past few years and we now have the Plan in place to build upon our success.

It is an honor to serve as your Mayor.

Sincerely,

Mayor Tina Harris
Town of Erie