ERIE, Dec. 15 – Three Erie organizations were awarded combined grant funding of $81,750 to strengthen security, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers said the funding includes $42,500 to the Multicultural Community Resource Center, $24,250 to Our Mother of Sorrows Roman Catholic Parish and $15,000 to the Islamic Cultural Center of Erie. “No resident should ever have to feel afraid where they live, work, worship or gather for any other reason,” Harkins said. “The resources funded by these grants will keep members and visitors of these organizations safer while also giving them greater peace of mind.” Merski said, “Although we would prefer to believe every organization naturally enjoys a safe and secure place in our community, the reality is that some have felt the need for enhanced security. The new funding will meet that need by funding security equipment, upgrades and any related resources the organizations feel they need.” The lawmakers said the funding may be used for a variety of security measures, including: safety and security planning and training, and threat-awareness and response training. equipment and technology such as metal detectors, protective lighting, surveillance equipment, emergency communications equipment, electronic locksets, deadbolts, trauma kits and theft-control devices. Read more
ERIE, Dec. 14 – Erie railroads today received two grants totaling $779,000 for upgrades, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding approved by the Pennsylvania State Transportation Commission includes $509,000 to IRG Erie to construct a rail siding to a new plastic recycling plant and $270,000 to West Erie Short Line to rehabilitate approximately 1 mile of track. “Rail upgrades are essential to keep goods moving smoothly through the supply chain,” Merski said. “The funding awarded today will allow West Erie Short Line to make needed upgrades to a portion of its track by performing tie replacement and drainage improvements.” Harkins said, “The grants awarded today will allow Erie’s rail infrastructure to keep pace with industry expansion in our district, including rail components to service the new plastic recycling plant. It’s an investment in progress.” The funding was awarded through the Rail Transportation Assistance Program and the Rail Freight Assistance Program. More information on the funding is available here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/wolf-administration-invests-26-million-in-rail-infrastructure-supporting-business-development-and-more-than-340-jobs-statewide/ Read more
ERIE, Dec. 14 – More than $7 million in new funding will enhance Erie County law enforcement resources, bolster investigation and prosecution of gun crimes and strengthen services and supports for crime victims, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding comes from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. “The new funding will advance crime detection, investigation and prosecution by putting new tools into the hands of law enforcement,” Merski said. “Our officers will benefit from technology such as 3-D scene mapping software, mobile forensic tools, advance surveillance equipment and other resources to keep our communities safer.” Harkins said, “I’m encouraged that the new funding includes more than $1.5 million for investigating and prosecuting gun crimes. The new grants will fund advanced equipment such as gunshot detection technology, new evidence processing equipment and special software to aid in gun crime investigations. At the same time, the new funding will enable us to provide additional supports for crime victims and more comprehensive services and advocacy for child abuse victims.” The lawmakers said the funding includes: $1.6 million to the City of Erie for City Police LLE Support. $1.37 to the City of Erie for enhanced gun violence investigation. $1.2 million Read more
ERIE, Dec. 13 – Newly awarded funding of $12,000 will strengthen key programs for Erie veterans, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the grants from the state Veterans’ Trust Fund includes $10,000 to the Warriors to Washington Program and another $2,000 to the Erie County Office of Veterans Affairs to support the county’s veterans’ courts. “The Warriors to Washington program offers a terrific way to back to those who served by allowing veterans to travel to the U.S. Capitol and tour Arlington Cemetery and monuments like the Vietnam and WWII memorials,” Harkins said. “The trips are therapeutic, provide opportunities for veterans to bond and remind them of all that came from their service. Securing additional funding will help ensure the program can continue locally.” Merski said the funding to the veterans’ courts strengthen an important justice resource. “Service comes with costs, and frequently, those include post-traumatic stress and other conditions that can lead to substance abuse and other problems,” Merski said. “By providing mentoring, support and supervision, veterans courts provide those who served with an alternative to incarceration that can lead them back to productive lives. Today’s funding is going to boost those vital services.” Read more
ERIE, Dec. 13 – State Rep. Bob Merski today announced $441,200 in new grant funding to support traffic signal upgrades in Summit and Millcreek townships. Merski, D-Erie, said the funding will support signal improvements along Peach Street. “Motorist and pedestrian safety depends on properly functioning, correctly timed traffic signals,” Merski said. “This new funding, which will support signal system upgrades and connection to PennDOT’s unified command and control software along Peach Street, is going to ensure those improvements are made to keep traffic flowing smoothly and safely.” The funding was awarded through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Traffic Signal Technologies Grant program. Funding from the program is provided as reimbursement to municipalities for updates to improve the efficiency and operation of existing traffic signals. The funding may be used for a range of operational improvements including new traffic signal systems, adaptive signal control technology, automated traffic signal performance measures, and connection to PennDOT’s unified command and control software. Read more
ERIE, Dec. 7 – The Erie County Historical Society and expERIEnce Children’s Museum were awarded nearly $20,000 in state funding to help support their operations, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said that funding from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission includes $24,500 to the Erie County Historical Society and $5,029 to the expERIEnce Children’s Museum. “Historic preservation can be painstaking work, but it ensures that the story of our past is not lost to future generations,” Merski said. “Securing this funding will help ensure that staff at the Erie County Historical Society have the resources to continue collecting, preserving and showcasing the documents and artifacts that tell that story.” Harkins said, “Kids need a place where they can build on classroom learning through hands-on exhibits that engage their senses, and the expERIEnce Children’s Museum provides that opportunity with interactive displays and exhibits. The funding will help ensure that the museum can continue providing those real-life lessons.” The grants were awarded under the Cultural and Historical Support program, which is designed to strengthen Pennsylvania’s museum community by supporting the general operations of eligible museums and official county historical societies that are not supported by other state agency Read more
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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3901 Liberty St.Erie, PA 16509
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