Merski, Harkins unanimously re-elected to Northwest Delegation leadership roles

(Nov 15, 2022)

ERIE, Nov. 15 – State Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, were unanimously elected today to continue in leadership roles in the state House’s Northwest Democratic Delegation, with Merski re-elected to serve as chairman and Harkins elected to serve as secretary for the 2023-24 legislative session. Both lawmakers said they plan to continue steering the delegation in ways that will help the region’s working families. “It is an honor to be unanimously chosen to lead the Northwest Delegation as chairman,” Merski said. “We are ready to work for the region and the commonwealth to deliver for workers, families, seniors and businesses. The northwest region is the farthest from Harrisburg, but we are a strong voice collectively for the people of northwest Pennsylvania.” Harkins said, “We are anxious to get to work with Governor Josh Shapiro and to go to bat for the people of the commonwealth, and particularly the Erie region. Issues affecting our region’s working men and women, including job safety and working conditions, will be among our top priorities.” In addition to Merski and Harkins, the Northwest Delegation includes state Reps. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, who was unanimously elected to serve as treasurer, and state Rep.-Elect Paul Takac, D-Centre, who was unanimously elected to serve as vice chair. The delegation is a coalition of House lawmakers representing Erie and northwest Pennsylvania. Read more

 

Merski announces $30,000 grant to Wesleyville Borough

(Nov 07, 2022)

ERIE, Nov. 7 – A $30,000 grant to Wesleyville will fund needed upgrades to the Borough Hall kitchen, state Rep. Bob Merski announced today. Merski, D-Erie, said the funding from the Department of Community and Economic Development will allow the borough to have a kitchen that is safer, more useful and more energy-efficient. “The current kitchen in Wesleyville’s Borough Hall is 70 years old and desperately in need of renovations,” Merski said. “I was thrilled to be able to secure the new funding, which will allow the borough to upgrade the kitchen into a commercial-grade kitchen that meets current Health Department codes. “The new, energy-efficient kitchen will allow groups like the Wesleyville VFD to host a wider range of events and community fundraisers, and the kitchen will double as a shelter in the event of an emergency. It’s a great investment that will keep folks safer and ultimately save taxpayer dollars.” Read more

 

Merski delivers $264,000 for Greene Township projects

(Nov 06, 2022)

ERIE, Nov. 3 – State Rep. Bob Merski today announced $264,000 in new grant funding to support projects in Greene Township. Merski, D-Erie, said the funding from the Department of Community and Economic Development will support projects that include infrastructure upgrades and township improvements and upgrades to the St. Boniface Food Pantry. “I was proud to deliver this funding, which will help Greene Township move forward on projects to improve quality of life for residents,” Merski said. “In addition to infrastructure upgrades and township improvements, the funding will support needed upgrades to the St. Boniface Food Pantry, including replacing the aging cooler and freezer and installing an insulated roll-up garage entry door for food deliveries.” Merski said the funding includes $17,000 to replace the food pantry’s aging cooler and freezer, $15,000 to install an insulated, roll-up garage entry door to assist in food pantry deliveries and the remainder for other township infrastructure improvements and upgrades. Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: $100,000 secured for new Erie PD motorcycles

(Nov 04, 2022)

ERIE, Nov. 4 – The Erie Police Department will add five new motorcycles to their fleet thanks to $100,000 in new funding, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding will support needed upgrades to the current fleet. “The new motorcycles will be a much-needed, much-appreciated addition for the Erie Police Department,” Harkins said. “I last secured funding for motorcycles for the department more than 10 years ago, and the current fleet is aging. The new motorcycles – which will offer advanced safety technology like upgraded ABS braking systems and better emergency lighting – will go a long way toward helping Erie’s finest stay safe on the job.” Merski said, “The Erie PD protects and serves the community with vigilance 24/7, and they deserve the best, safest equipment we can provide. We’re proud to support them by securing funding that will allow the department to upgrade the fleet with five new motorcycles.” Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: Nearly $2 million in tax credits awarded for Erie projects to revitalize distressed areas, expand services for residents

(Nov 03, 2022)

ERIE, Nov. 3 – Tax credits worth $2 million will leverage investments in Erie projects to help working families and spur revitalization in distressed areas, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the tax credits were awarded under the Neighborhood Assistance Program. “The tax credits we secured are going to leverage investments in projects that breathe new life into distressed areas through programs that fight blight, renovate buildings, and create jobs,” Merski said. “Creative revitalization projects – including projects that establish new, mixed-used spaces -- attract businesses and more investors, and they keep the momentum going on renewal efforts. It’s going to be exciting to see how the new funding changes the landscape and spurs new economic growth for Erie.” Harkins said, “In addition to revitalizing distressed areas, these tax credits are going to leverage investment in projects that improve real-life opportunities for residents, provide safer places for kids to play and socialize, expand affordable housing, and bring more families access to child care and early pre-K programs. Investments in improving people’s lives are the best ones we can make in our communities.” The lawmakers said the funding includes: $567,050 to Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania to help the food bank strengthen its Read more

 

Merski delivers $250,000 grant for Erie Zoo family restroom, related projects

(Nov 01, 2022)

ERIE, Nov. 1 – State Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, today delivered a $250,000 check to the Erie Zoo, representing funding he secured for construction of new family/gender neutral restroom and related projects. Merski said the funding – administered through the Department of Community and Economic Development – will support work that is necessary to help the zoo regain its accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. “The zoo is a beloved resource for Erie families and also a major tourism destination and revenue producer for our region,” Merski said. “The new family restroom and related projects – along with $3 million we recently secured through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program for a new, state-of-the-art zoo veterinary center – are important modernization projects and steps to helping the zoo regain its accreditation.” Merski said that in addition to a new family/gender neutral restroom, the $250,000 grant from DCED will fund related work to refurbish the roof of the existing structure and replace the existing viewing structure with a new one. Read more

 

Harkins, Merski announce $8 million secured for new Erie projects

(Oct 31, 2022)

ERIE, Oct. 31 – Two Erie projects will be receiving $8 million in funding, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program includes $5 million to IRG Erie Inc., to support development of a $200 million waste plastic recycling facility on 25 acres in a high-unemployment area of Erie City and $3 million to Enterprise Development Center of Erie County for largescale renovations and construction at the former EMI property. “The IRG recycling facility will put Erie on the map as a leader in plastics and recycling and create hundreds of jobs for the Erie community,” Merski said. “This project has the potential to be a game changer for the East side. This private-public partnership will reuse an industrial site, help the environment and employ people in a growing industry. “In addition, the funding to the Enterprise Development Center will help spur additional economic development by supporting large-scale renovations and construction at the former EMI property. The project is going to help expand our manufacturing and industrial base and invite new industry. Both projects will continue to expand Erie’s footprint as a key region for high-tech manufacturing.” Harkins said, “Both projects are in areas of the city that need a boost. They are former sites where blue-collar jobs Read more

 

Merski: Penn State Behrend awarded $1.5 million for manufacturing center

(Oct 27, 2022)

ERIE, Oct. 27 – Penn State University’s Behrend College has been awarded $1.5 million for a new manufacturing center, state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, announced today. Merski said the funding – awarded through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program – will further strengthen Erie’s manufacturing capabilities. “I am proud to have helped secure funding to help Penn State Behrend construct the new Center for Manufacturing Competitiveness, which is part of the school’s ‘Project Resolve’ and will be the eighth building constructed at the Knowledge Park Research Facility,” Merski said. “By offering state-of-the resources for businesses and training students on the latest manufacturing techniques, centers like these play a huge role in enhancing our region’s favorable business climate and keeping Erie competitive. “The new building will feature plastics and metal-casting laboratories; additional space for local manufacturers; and the country’s only fully serviced heavy-haul battery test facility for the locomotive, maritime and mining industries. I can’t wait to see the facility in action.” Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: $3 million awarded to construct new zoo veterinary center

(Oct 26, 2022)

ERIE, Oct. 26 – A $3 million state grant will fund construction of a new veterinary center at the Erie Zoo, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the grant to the Erie Zoological Society – supported through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program – will fund work on comprehensive facilities to ensure animal health. “The funding we helped secure today will support a landmark area attraction – our amazing Erie Zoo – by funding a state-of-the-art veterinary center,” Harkins said. “Once constructed, the new center will contain animal treatment, quarantine, and isolation spaces; surgical and imaging suites; veterinary offices; drug storage facilities; and even some limited public viewing areas. It’s going to be exciting watching the new facility take shape.” Merski said, “The Erie Zoo delights and teaches kids of all ages, attracts thousands of visitors, and generates substantial tourism revenue for our region. But maintaining hundreds of animals outside of their natural habitat brings critical responsibilities. The funding awarded today for the new veterinary center will ensure those animals receive the best possible care. We are proud to have the zoo in our district and to have helped secure this funding." Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: Erie secures $18 million to eliminate lead water drinking risk

(Oct 19, 2022)

ERIE, Oct. 19 – Safer drinking water is on tap for more Erie residents, thanks to new funding of $18 million that will allow the Erie City Water Authority to replace more of the city’s lead-containing water service connections, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority – which includes a $14.9 million grant and a $3.1 million low-interest loan – will allow the water authority to continue eliminating a serious potential hazard in the water supply. “The most critical infrastructure investments we make are the ones that eliminate health and safety risks,” Merski said. “Last year, we secured Pennvest funding for the first phase of a project to remove lead-containing service connections from the water system. More of those lead-containing components remain, however, and their rapid corrosion continues to threaten the safety of our drinking water. The new funding will allow the water authority to replace another 2,700 connections serving nearly 7,000 residents.” Harkins said, “Lead-based components in the water system pose a health threat – even at low levels – and the risk is especially dangerous to children. In this case, the danger comes from aging lead gooseneck pipe fittings, which can leach lead into the system as they deteriorate. The funding awarded today Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: $50,000 awarded to fund Erie County broadband expansion study

(Oct 17, 2022)

ERIE, Oct. 17 – A $50,000 grant will fund a broadband expansion feasibility study to help Erie identify coverage gaps and develop ways to expand internet to address those gaps, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the Erie Area Council of Governments will contract with an expert to perform the study and with the Erie County Department of Planning and Community Development to provide economic impact data and Geographic Information System services. “I’m encouraged that we have funding in place to study which areas of the county are still facing unreliable internet access,” Merski said. “Even as access has improved in many places, residents and business owners in the eastern and southern parts of the county have continued to struggle with spotty coverage and access. It’s critical for us to pinpoint where strong connections are lacking so they can be brought up to speed.” “Fast, reliable internet isn’t a luxury – it’s an essential connection that opens doors to jobs, education, and community connections,” Harkins said. “We need to make sure all those connections are in place so communities have the access they need.” The project will serve 16 communities over the course of a year. The funding is part of a package awarded under the Appalachian Regional Commission, Power Initiative Grants. More Read more

 

Merski to host Hispanic Heritage roundtable at 5 p.m. on Oct. 12

(Oct 06, 2022)

ERIE, Oct. 6 – State Rep. Bob Merski will host a live roundtable discussion addressing issues of importance to Erie’s Hispanic community at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 12. Merski, D-Erie, is hosting the event at his 3901 Liberty St. office during Hispanic Heritage Month to highlight contributions by Erie’s Hispanic residents and also to continue a dialog on issues of importance to residents. “The Hispanic Heritage Town Hall we hosted last year was productive,” Merski said. “In addition to highlighting key ways residents of Hispanic heritage have enriched the Erie community and economy, we discussed issues of concern to workers, small business owners and residents. The discussion underscored the need for a continuing dialog on critical issues, including how Erie can be a more inclusive community. “This year, we’re excited to be able to host a live roundtable event that will bring together leaders, groups and residents in for what I’m sure will be another engaging dialog. I encourage everyone interested to stop by and be a part of the conversation.” Those interested in attending should send their name and e-mail address to Merski’s office by emailing RepMerski@pahouse.net or calling 814-455-6319. Read more

 

Merski to host Oct. 7 flu shot clinic

(Sep 29, 2022)

ERIE, Sept. 29 – State Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, will hold a flu shot clinic from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Oct. 7 at his 3901 Liberty St. office. Merski, who is hosting the clinic in partnership with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, said the event is a convenient way for residents to prepare for a seasonal threat. “Early fall is a sensible time to schedule a flu shot, before flu activity starts ramping up,” Merski said. “A simple, safe shot can cut your risk of developing the flu by half or prevent you from getting really sick if you do contract the flu. Visiting our Oct. 7 clinic is a small step that can provide important protection.” Merski said participants must present a valid insurance card to receive a shot. Pre-registration is not required, but visitors will be asked to complete a form on-site. Those wishing to complete the form in advance can pick up a copy at Merski’s 3901 Liberty St. office. Residents with questions should call the office at (814) 455-6319. Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: $400,000 awarded for Erie watershed restoration projects

(Sep 20, 2022)

ERIE, Sept. 20 – Two Erie watershed restoration projects are receiving $400,000 in funding from the Commonwealth Financing Authority, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said two grants of $200,000 each to the city of Erie will fund projects to restore Garrison Run and Cemetery Run streams, both designated as impaired by the state Department of Environmental Protection because of excessive sediment pollution. “Pollution in tributaries that empty into Presque Isle Bay can have broad consequences beyond the immediate stream banks, and Garrison Run is a stream with a long history of sediment pollution,” Merski said. “Reducing the sediment load is critical to improving water quality, protecting the health of delicate ecosystems and curbing the pollutants that flow through to the bay and lake. “The new grant will help the city achieve those goals by funding restoration work on approximately 1,200 linear feet of Garrison Run on the fenced property of the Erie Wastewater Treatment Plant along Port Access Road.” Harkins said a second grant will help the city address sediment pollution in Cemetery Run Stream. “So much of our region’s health depends on the health of our watershed,” Harkins said. “Improving water quality in our streams and tributaries means less impact to the shoreline, safer recreation and fishing for Read more

 

Merski to host virtual Pardon Project Town Hall at noon Sept. 16

(Sep 14, 2022)

ERIE, Sept. 14 – State Rep. Bob Merski will host a “Learn at Lunch” virtual town hall at noon Friday, Sept. 16 with Secretary of the Board of Pardons Celeste Trusty to help residents learn more about the Pennsylvania Marijuana Pardon Project. Merski, D-Erie, said the event will offer practical information and a chance to ask questions. “The PA Marijuana Pardon Project is a unique opportunity for folks with minor marijuana convictions to get a fresh start, but the deadline to apply is Sept. 30,” Merski said. “I encourage anyone who may be eligible to sign into our town hall Friday. It will be a great chance to learn the program details, find out about eligibility and ask questions of the secretary of the Board of Pardons. “My office is also available to help with the application process.” Those interested in attending the live online Teams event should send their name and e-mail address to Merski’s office by emailing RepMerski@pahouse.net or calling (814) 455-6319. The event will also be livestreamed on Merski’s Facebook page. For more information, those interested can contact Merski’s office at (814) 455-6319. Read more

 

Merski: Greene Township firefighters awarded $8,500 to fight brush fires

(Sep 13, 2022)

ERIE, Sept. 13 – A grant of $8,525 to Kuhl Hose Co. in Greene Township will make it easier for firefighters to fight brush fires, state Rep. Bob Merski announced today. Merski, D-Erie, said the funding – part of a package of Volunteer Fire Assistance Grants offered through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources – will help fight a seasonal hazard that increases over the dry fall months. “Brush fires – especially when they occur near homes or along roadways – can spread quickly to endanger people and property, and dry conditions increase the risk,” Merski said. “As we head into fall, it will be important for firefighters to have the portable tanks and other special equipment needed to combat this fast-moving threat while staying safe themselves.” The grants were awarded on a cost-share basis to qualifying local firefighting forces in rural areas and communities with fewer than 10,000 people. The funding may be used for training and equipment purchases directly related to fighting brush and forest fires. Priority was placed on projects that include the purchase of wildfire suppression equipment and protective clothing. Grants may also be used for purchasing mobile or portable radios, installing dry hydrants, wildfire prevention and mitigation work, training wildfire fighters, or converting and maintaining federal excess Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: $20 million awarded to power Erie business growth, innovation

(Sep 13, 2022)

ERIE, Sept. 13 – Erie businesses will have access to fresh infusions of capital thanks to nearly $20 million in funding to Ben Franklin Technology Partners Central & Northern Pennsylvania, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding from the state Department of Community and Economic Development will allow Ben Franklin to make equity investments and loans to fuel area businesses and jobs. “There is so much talent and vision in the Erie business community, and those natural assets combined with an energetic, talented workforce have given birth to dozens of exciting enterprises,” Merski said. “The funding awarded today will mean more capital flowing to new and emerging businesses, which will continue growing Erie’s reputation as a welcome business climate and a place to invest.” Harkins said, “The investment in Ben Franklin Technology Partners means existing and emerging companies in our community can look forward to fresh infusions of funding. It’s a perfect investment in our area’s natural potential that will allow local business owners to spread their wings, create more jobs and keep our economy expanding.” The funding was awarded under the Direct Venture Investment program, which provides funding to economic development organizations to provide seed and later-stage capital for existing and emerging Read more

 

State Rep. Bob Merski's Fall 2022 Newsletter

(Sep 12, 2022)

State Rep. Bob Merski's Fall 2022 Newsletter Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: More than $500,000 to improve, expand Erie natural attractions

(Sep 06, 2022)

ERIE, Sept. 6 – Erie parks, greenspaces and other natural attractions will receive a boost from more than $500,000 in state funding, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the funding was approved by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and will be used to rehabilitate and expand parkland and improve area attractions. “The investments we make in our natural attractions can be as important as the ones we make in concrete,” Merski said. “Expanding our parks and greenspaces makes our communities more livable – it brings more places for families to play and exercise together, for kids to learn and discover nature, and for visitors to enjoy our unique attractions. That’s a win for residents and for tourism, as well.” Harkins said, “Erie has an abundance of natural beauty and one-of-a-kind attractions. The funding we helped secure today is going to help restore or expand attractions folks visit to gather together and enjoy free time. I’m delighted we were able to help secure funding for the special places that improve quality of life for residents.” The projects approved include: $92,500 to Western Pennsylvania Conservancy for acquisition of 108.5 acres for addition to State Game Lands (for Erie/Warren counties). $91,240 to Union City Borough for rehabilitation of Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $250,000 awarded to boost security for two Erie organizations

(Sep 02, 2022)

ERIE, Sept. 2 – Several Erie facilities will benefit from enhanced security thanks to $245,000 in federal grant funding, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding – awarded through the federal Nonprofit Security Grant Program – includes $150,000 to Chabad Lubavitch of Erie County, Inc. and two separate grants totaling $95,000 to the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. “I’m glad this funding is available to shore up protections against those who would seek to spread hatred and violence,” Merski said. “I also encourage everyone in our community to stand together and send a strong message that hate will find no safe harbor here in Erie.” Harkins said, “People should never have to feel threatened where they live, work, or pray. It’s my hope that this funding and the stronger security it provides will bring the peace of mind everyone deserves in our community.” The grants are part of a package of $4.2 million awarded statewide to protect diverse communities targeted by hate crimes. The program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, provides funding for target hardening and physical security enhancements, with a focus on organizations that are at high risk of a potential terrorist attack. More information about the funding is Read more

 

Merski, Harkins unanimously re-elected to Northwest Delegation leadership roles
Nov 15, 2022

Merski announces $30,000 grant to Wesleyville Borough
Nov 07, 2022

Merski delivers $264,000 for Greene Township projects
Nov 06, 2022

Merski, Harkins: $100,000 secured for new Erie PD motorcycles
Nov 04, 2022

Harkins, Merski: Nearly $2 million in tax credits awarded for Erie projects to revitalize distressed areas, expand services for residents
Nov 03, 2022

Merski delivers $250,000 grant for Erie Zoo family restroom, related projects
Nov 01, 2022

Harkins, Merski announce $8 million secured for new Erie projects
Oct 31, 2022

Merski: Penn State Behrend awarded $1.5 million for manufacturing center
Oct 27, 2022

Harkins, Merski: $3 million awarded to construct new zoo veterinary center
Oct 26, 2022

Merski, Harkins: Erie secures $18 million to eliminate lead water drinking risk
Oct 19, 2022

Merski, Harkins: $50,000 awarded to fund Erie County broadband expansion study
Oct 17, 2022

Merski to host Hispanic Heritage roundtable at 5 p.m. on Oct. 12
Oct 06, 2022

Merski to host Oct. 7 flu shot clinic
Sep 29, 2022

Merski, Harkins: $400,000 awarded for Erie watershed restoration projects
Sep 20, 2022

Merski to host virtual Pardon Project Town Hall at noon Sept. 16
Sep 14, 2022

Merski: Greene Township firefighters awarded $8,500 to fight brush fires
Sep 13, 2022

Merski, Harkins: $20 million awarded to power Erie business growth, innovation
Sep 13, 2022

State Rep. Bob Merski's Fall 2022 Newsletter
Sep 12, 2022

Merski, Harkins: More than $500,000 to improve, expand Erie natural attractions
Sep 06, 2022

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $250,000 awarded to boost security for two Erie organizations
Sep 02, 2022