Harkins, Merski announce $106,820 in fire and EMS grants

(Feb 10, 2022)

ERIE, Feb. 10 – State Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced that fire and EMS companies in their districts will be receiving $106,820 in state grant funding for equipment, training and other needed resources. “Erie first responders have been operating under short staffed and underfunded conditions for years, and the pandemic only made things tougher,” Harkins said. “Securing this funding is going to help get some of those resources flowing and also aid in recruitment and retention efforts.” Merski said: “The grants are a welcome addition to help our frontline heroes replenish supplies and equipment, fund necessary training, make building repairs and address a host of other needs. Erie is lucky to have dedicated first responders who answer the call in all kinds of stressful situations. This funding is the least we can do to help make their work a little easier.” The lawmakers said the funding includes: • Belle Valley Fire Department Inc. – fire company, $13,520. • City of Erie Fire Department – fire company, $15,000. • EmergyCare Inc. – EMS, $8,325. • Lawrence Park Volunteer Fire Department – fire company, $15,000. • Lawrence Park Volunteer Fire Department – EMS, $8,325. • Perry Hi-Way Hose Co. – fire company, Read more

 

Erie lawmakers issue statement on new coastal zone funding

(Feb 09, 2022)

ERIE, Feb. 9 – State Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski issued the following statements regarding state funding for coastal zone projects. “The Lake Erie watershed and its delicate ecosystem face ongoing threats from pollution and other environmental hazards,” said Harkins, who sits on the Great Lakes Commission. “Phosphorus runoff and the harmful algae blooms it creates have long posed a danger to the health of the lake and the safety of our drinking water, and we have been working with the commission to track progress in combating the problem. This funding is going to help efforts to address the problem.” Merski said, “Once again, I am thrilled to see the state making major investments to protect Lake Erie and coastal ecosystems. This funding will build on previous rounds of state funding to ensure that these important ecosystems and natural areas are protected for future generations. But this is about more than just protecting critical wildlife habitats. The health of our region and communities – economic and social – are very much tied to the health of the lake the surrounding regions. In many ways, the lake defines our region and is a critical component of the place we all call home.” Approved projects include: • Regional Science Consortium – $62,525 to research the occurrence of saxitoxin from harmful algal blooms Read more

 

Merski supports proposed budget investments in education, workforce training, vulnerable residents

(Feb 08, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 8 – State Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, issued the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget address today. “I believe Governor Wolf’s budget proposal moves us in the right direction by investing more money in our schools, including additional dollars into pre-K through post-secondary programs. “While the infusion of Level Up funding has been helpful and will continue to bring critical resources, it is not sufficient to level the playing field for Erie students, who for decades have been forced to try to compete with fewer resources. We need to make fair education funding a priority now, to give our students the opportunities they need and ease the burden on taxpayers. “On a related note, I support the governor’s proposed investments in additional workforce training and apprenticeship programs, which are critical for ensuring that the commonwealth remains competitive, and proposals to assist the small businesses that are the lifeblood of our economy. “Finally, I applaud the governor’s proposed investments in more funding for skilled nursing facilities for our seniors and in behavioral health programs. Those investments will be a welcome relief to programs that have struggled for years to gain sustainable funding for Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable residents. “Of course, these are just Read more

 

Merski elected chairman of Northwest Delegation

(Feb 07, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 7 – State Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, announced today that he was unanimously elected chairman of the Northwest Delegation, a coalition of lawmakers representing the interests of residents in Erie and other counties in Pennsylvania’s Northwest quadrant. “Service is part of who I am,” Merski said. “After serving as treasurer, I’m honored to be elected to serve as chairman of the Northwest Delegation and guide our efforts to make sure our region’s needs are priorities in Harrisburg. Our corner of the state is blessed with rich natural resources and resilient people who have worked hard to reinvent our economy during extremely challenging times. “At the same time, families in our region are still living with an underfunded education system that hurts students and threatens taxpayers, a shortage of affordable housing and the need for greater economic stability, while communities are still battling blight and dealing with aging infrastructure. “In the months ahead, I’ll be working closely with the delegation on key priorities, including bringing more funding back to our region; fighting for fairer school funding that broadens the state’s investment in our region’s public schools; strengthening workforce training and job opportunities; promoting opportunity zones and other initiatives that attract investors and businesses; and fortifying our infrastructure to encourage business growth, Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: $150,000 awarded to create workforce training center

(Feb 01, 2022)

ERIE, Feb. 1 – Erie County students will benefit from a new training center, thanks to grant funding of $150,000, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the Business-Education Partnership grant to the Northwest Workforce Development Board will provide a career pipeline for students who will benefit from specific training. “Building the best possible workforce for our community means tapping into every young adult to help them maximize their skills,” Harkins said. “The funding awarded today will help launch the Uniquely Abled Academy, which will prepare students with autism for careers in computer numerical control machining – a high-demand career in today’s manufacturing industry. It’s a win for students and for our workforce.” Merski said, “Erie has a highly talented pool of students, including students with autism who have much to offer, but we need to make sure we are reaching them with the right resources. The new center is going to open doors for these students by providing training in high-demand skills to ensure they achieve productive roles in the workplace.” The Northwest Workforce Development Board also serves Crawford, Warren, Forest, Venango, Clarion, and in addition to launching the new center, the board will also connect rural students to local employers for work experience or company tours to offer Read more

 

New relief package a healthy first dose to ease strain on PA health care heroes

(Jan 27, 2022)

With so many bitter divisions between the aisles, the chance to come together and help some of Pennsylvania’s most selfless, dedicated workers feels like a rare opportunity to heal some of those rifts. Maybe that’s why it also seems fitting that H.B. 253 – which just passed the House with unanimous, bipartisan support – is dedicated to helping our healers: the nurses and other frontline hospital workers who are currently facing crisis conditions. Of course, this isn’t the first time they have faced the incredible stresses of working in overcrowded, understaffed conditions. In fact, it seems like a hellish cycle: a COVID surge happens, hospitals swell to near-bursting with unvaccinated patients, and nurses and other frontline support staff face horrendous shortages and near-impossible conditions as they continue trying to help as many patients as possible. This time, however, a meaningful relief package will provide help, and hope. Once signed by the governor, the legislation we passed today will speed $210 million in federal pandemic relief directly to hospitals, which will put those dollars to work bringing nurses and other frontline staff the support they desperately need. Specifically, the funding will include $100 million to hospitals statewide to help them retain and recruit direct care staff. The pandemic has underscored the critical need for a strong nursing and direct patient care workforce. The funding will include Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $600,000 awarded to boost Erie attractions

(Dec 30, 2021)

ERIE, Dec. 30 – New grants totaling nearly $600,000 will enhance area attractions by funding improvements to the Erie Zoo and equipment for maintaining snowmobile trails, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the funding from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources includes $500,000 to the Erie Zoological Society for rehabilitation and construction of a giraffe exhibit with public viewing structures and related improvements. “The grant to the zoo will help fund construction of a unique exhibit that is part of the zoo’s efforts to expand its ‘Wild Open Spaces,’ where visitors can observe animals in their natural habitat,” Merski said. “The improvements will expand the zoo’s capacity, increase tourism revenue, and help educate visitors about wildlife and conservation.” Other funding includes nearly $100,000 to three snowmobile organizations for purchase of equipment needed to construct and maintain trails. “Erie is an all-season destination, with miles of trails for winter recreation,” Harkins said. “Some of the grants awarded today will fund equipment needed for construction, maintenance and grooming of nearly 120 miles of snowmobile trails to ensure the sport remains safe and enjoyable for residents and visitors.” The snowmobile grants include $38,200 to Wales Sno-Drifters, Read more

 

State Rep. Bob Merski's 2022 Capitol Scenes calendar

(Dec 28, 2021)

State Rep. Bob Merski's Capitol Scenes calendar Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: $165,000 awarded to expand Erie affordable housing

(Dec 20, 2021)

ERIE, Dec. 20 – A $165,000 grant will enable Our West Bayfront to redevelop three vacant properties into affordable housing in Erie, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the funding – awarded through the Keystone Communities Program – will boost ongoing efforts to bring more affordable housing to the city. “Affordable housing is critical for our community,” Merski said. “This new funding is going allow us to expand housing options for residents while creating jobs. It’s an investment that will improve life for families and continue creating spaces where they can thrive.” Harkins said, “By funding work to redevelop three vacant properties into affordable housing units, this funding is going help prevent blight and expand our community in a way that creates new opportunities for residents. I’m looking forward to seeing the new project take shape.” The grants are part of a package of $6 million in funding for 34 community improvement projects statewide. More information about the funding is available here . Read more

 

Merski hosting drive-thru open house Wednesday, Dec. 22

(Dec 16, 2021)

ERIE, Dec. 16 – State Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, is inviting residents to a Drive-Thru Holiday Open House from 1-3 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 22 at his 3901 Liberty St. office. Merski is encouraging residents to drive over for some warm conversation and a sweet holiday treat. “Our Drive-Thru Holiday Open House may look a bit different this year, but it will still be a great opportunity for residents to share their thoughts, get information on state programs and services, and enjoy a local holiday treat, all from the warmth of their own cars,” Merski said. “I’m encouraging everyone to stop by, pick up a treat and let us know how we can help – or simply exchange some holiday cheer.” Merski said residents should enter the parking lot from Liberty Street. Anyone with questions can call 814-455-6319. Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: Grassroots organizations receiving $35,000 for vaccine outreach

(Dec 15, 2021)

ERIE, Dec. 15 – Grants totaling $35,000 will fund outreach efforts by two groups as they work to encourage Erie residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the funding – awarded through the COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach Grant Program – includes $15,000 to the Robert Benjamin Wiley Community Charter School and another $20,000 to the Sikh Society of Harrisburg, which will benefit residents in Erie and several other counties. “Despite some progress in community vaccine rates, there are still residents who are reluctant to get the COVID-19 vaccine,” Harkins said. “This new funding will help grassroots organizations reach out with the message that getting the vaccine is a critically important way to protect themselves and their loved ones.” Merski said, “For those who are still hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, sometimes the right message, from a trusted neighbor or group, is all that is needed. Securing this funding is going to allow R.B. Wiley and the Sikh Society to reach out and provide residents the reassurance they need that the vaccine is safe and effective.” The grants are part of a package of $2.5 million to support vaccine outreach efforts statewide. The COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach Grant Program is administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development. Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: $90,000 awarded to shore up security at Erie campuses

(Dec 10, 2021)

ERIE, Dec. 10 – Three grants totaling $90,000 will enhance security and prevent sexual assault at Mercyhurst University, Gannon University and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the three schools are receiving grants of $30,000 each under the “It’s On Us” program to ensure students remain safe from the threat of sexual violence. “College campuses should be safe havens where students feel confident to pursue their hopes and dreams,” Merski said. “This new funding will help ensure that Erie campuses have the proper security in place to deter crime and allow students to thrive and learn.” Harkins said, “No student should ever have to worry about facing the threat of an assault on campus. Securing this funding is going to bring new resources to ensure students remain safe and, equally important, enjoy peace of mind.” The “It’s On Us” campaign is a national initiative to raise awareness about sexual assault; teaching participants that assault includes non-consensual sex, advising them on how to identify dangerous situations, empowering them to intervene, and urging them to create an environment of support for victims and survivors. Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest PA awarded nearly $750,000 for upgrades

(Dec 09, 2021)

ERIE, Dec. 9 – Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest PA has been awarded nearly $750,000 for upgrades, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the funding will help the food bank expand its capacity for storing and transporting supplies. “No household should have to deal with the stress of food insecurity, especially during the holidays,” Merski said. “Securing this funding will ensure that Second Harvest Food Bank has the equipment it needs to store and transport plentiful supplies so that families have fewer worries about keeping nutritious food on the table.” Harkins said: “Second Harvest has always been a wonderful resource for our region. With so many residents still feeling the effects of the pandemic, it’s important for folks to know that the food bank is there for them and – thanks to this new funding – able to serve our community with expanded capacity.” The COVID-19 Food Bank Cold Storage Infrastructure Program allows Pennsylvania food banks to purchase, expand, or upgrade cold storage facilities to ensure that they can deliver fresh food to struggling families. Eligible purchases include refrigerators, coolers, freezers, refrigerator trailers and cargo vans, building expansions, and more. The grants are part of a package of $11.4 million in funding to food banks statewide. More information on the Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: More than $23,000 awarded to fund historical societies, children’s museum

(Dec 08, 2021)

ERIE, Dec. 8 – The Erie County Historical Society, expERIEnce Children’s Museum, and Harborcreek Historical Society have been awarded more than $23,000 in state funding to help support their operations, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said that funding from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission includes $12,003 to the Erie County Historical Society and $6,067 to the children’s museum under the Cultural and Historical Support Grant Program and $5,000 to the Harborcreek society under the Historical and Archival Records Grant Program. “Erie’s historical societies are the keepers of our region’s rich cultural heritage, and this new funding will support staff at the county historical society and Harborcreek in their efforts to preserve and chronicle our history in a way that keeps it alive for future generations.” Merski said, “The expERIEnce Children’s Museum is another unique place that brings learning to life by allowing kids to interact with hands-on displays and exhibits that stimulate the senses. The new grant funding to help support operations follows last week’s award of $5 million from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program for major expansions and improvements to the museum.” The funding is part of a package of nearly $2 million in grants awarded to 154 Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: Erie child protection and advocacy efforts to benefit from more than $400,000 in funding

(Dec 08, 2021)

ERIE, Dec. 8 – Efforts to improve child abuse investigation and assist young victims will benefit from $447,000 in funding awarded by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the Children’s Advocacy Center in Erie will receive $47,000 in direct funding to continue its advocacy and support for abuse victims and will also benefit from an additional $400,000 awarded to the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Pennsylvania to help the state center provide individual CACs with training and technical support. “Our Children’s Advocacy Center here in Erie plays multiple critical roles, from being a voice for young abuse victims and assisting in investigations to providing a safe, supportive environment and resources to help kids heal,” Harkins said. “The new funding to the center will ensure that it has the resources to continue those crucial services.” Merski said: “In addition to the specific funding earmarked for our Erie center, the grant to the state center is great news because it will fund a team of experts in the field who can provide additional support. With changes in the law, an increase in child abuse referrals and the development of new, evidence-based techniques, our dedicated and talented professionals at the county level can benefit from that extra training and Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: $5 million awarded to expand, improve expERIEnce Children’s Museum

(Dec 03, 2021)

ERIE, Dec. 3 – A $5 million state grant will fund expansion and improvements to the expERIEnce Children’s Museum, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding – supported through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program – will help fund a building addition, outdoor space and improvements to the existing structure. “Securing this funding is going to allow the museum to expand its footprint and also offer new outdoor spaces for open-air programs,” Harkins said. “With those additions, the museum will be able to accommodate more people and add additional exhibits and programs, making the experience even more exciting for young visitors.” Merski said, “It’s hard to overstate the importance of vivid, hands-on exhibits that stimulate kids’ senses and help them learn. Our children’s museum gives kids an amazing educational experience to complement what they learn in the classroom, and today’s funding is going to help ensure the museum has the capacity to expand those resources even further.” The lawmakers said that the three-story addition to the current facility includes site preparation, foundation and concrete slabs, structural steel, building envelope, interior walls, and ceilings, finishes, and mechanical and electrical systems. In addition, renovations include reworking of structural steel and the addition of energy Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: $1.6M awarded to reduce gun violence, assist law enforcement, help former offenders return to community

(Dec 01, 2021)

ERIE, Dec. 1 – A grant of more than $1.64 million to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office will fund measures to reduce gun violence, bolster law enforcement, and provide former offenders the supports and services needed to resume productive lives in the community, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency will fund resources over a 24-month period to help implement UnifiedErie’s Group/Gun Violence Reduction Strategy. “This grant is going to fund targeted intervention strategies, street outreach, and other programs that have proven to reduce violence and help former offenders transition back to productive lives,” Merski said. “All are investments in a safer, stronger community.” Harkins said, “The funding awarded today is going to support programs that give residents a greater voice in fighting crime, expand outreach to at-risk youth beyond the schools and into the neighborhoods, boost law enforcement’s ability to track and prosecute offenders, and connect former offenders with job resources and other supports to help them turn their lives around.” The grant is part of a package of $15.7 million in funding from PCCD to support local strategies to stop gun and group violence. More information about the grants is available here . Read more

 

Merski, Harkins urge residents to apply now for emergency rental assistance

(Nov 18, 2021)

ERIE, Nov. 18 – Help is still available through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, and state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins are urging residents who may be struggling with rent or utility payments to apply now. “With eviction protections no longer in place, it’s important for residents to remember that help is still available through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program,” Merski said. “The program can provide up to 18 months of assistance for past-due rent or utilities dating back to March 2020, or for future payments. It can also help with housing-related expenses such as relocation, security deposits, application fees, accrued late fees and attorney fees related to eviction proceedings. “But residents – especially those facing an imminent risk of eviction or utility shutoff – should not wait. Applying now may help prevent those circumstances and other major life disruptions.” Harkins said, “As we head into winter, I urge anyone who is having trouble paying rent or utilities to apply for emergency assistance. Help is available even if residents are living in subsidized or Section 8 housing, as long as those costs are not reimbursed through another program.” To qualify, a household must be responsible for paying rent and must meet the following criteria: One or more household members has qualified for unemployment benefits, had a decrease in Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: Nearly $3 million in tax credits awarded to boost investments in affordable housing, community revitalization, job training

(Nov 09, 2021)

ERIE, Nov. 9 – Tax credits totaling more than $2.8 million under the state Neighborhood Assistance Program will leverage investments in projects to improve life for Erie residents, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding will leverage investments in a broad range of projects. “The best investments are the ones that generate greater opportunities for people," Merski said. “By fueling projects to renew distressed areas, educate youth, address hunger insecurity and boost job training, these tax credits promise to expand the resources residents need to thrive.” Harkins said, “This tax credit funding will provide an infusion of lifeblood into our communities, which are still working to recover from the pandemic. From removing blight and revitalizing neighborhoods to improving literacy and increasing affordable housing, they are going to create new opportunities for residents and small businesses to build back and flourish.” The lawmakers say the tax credits include: Erie Playhouse – $26,125. ServErie – $5,500. SSJ Neighborhood Network – $27,500 and $200,000. YMCA of Greater Erie – $12,375. Erie County Historical Society – $5,500. Erie Center for Arts and Technology – $55,000 and $132,500. Gannon Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: $200,000 low-interest loan to help fund unique Bayfront dining venue

(Nov 03, 2021)

ERIE, Nov. 3 – A low-interest loan of $200,000 will help fund a project to bring a unique outdoor dining and entertainment venue to the Erie Bayfront, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the funding to Scott’s Bayfront Hotel LLC will finance construction and renovations for Oliver’s Beer Garden that will help visitors capture stunning waterfront views. “The loan to Scott’s Bayfront Hotel LLC is especially exciting because it is helping to fund a project that builds on the Bayfront’s natural beauty in a way that draws visitors, increases commercial activity and attracts additional investment in our region,” Harkins said. “Scott’s Bayfront will also retain 55 permanent full-time jobs as a result of the project.” Merski said, “Today’s funding to Scott’s Bayfront will help move this special dining and entertainment project one step further by funding renovations that include site development, paving, landscaping, outdoor pavilion, fire pits, tiling, plumbing and electrical work. I can’t wait to see this area take on new life as the renovations take shape.” The total project cost is $803,647. The loan was approved through the Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission and is a seven-year, $200,000 loan at a 1.5% interest rate. The loan was approved Read more

 

Harkins, Merski announce $106,820 in fire and EMS grants
Feb 10, 2022

Erie lawmakers issue statement on new coastal zone funding
Feb 09, 2022

Merski supports proposed budget investments in education, workforce training, vulnerable residents
Feb 08, 2022

Merski elected chairman of Northwest Delegation
Feb 07, 2022

Merski, Harkins: $150,000 awarded to create workforce training center
Feb 01, 2022

New relief package a healthy first dose to ease strain on PA health care heroes
Jan 27, 2022

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $600,000 awarded to boost Erie attractions
Dec 30, 2021

State Rep. Bob Merski's 2022 Capitol Scenes calendar
Dec 28, 2021

Merski, Harkins: $165,000 awarded to expand Erie affordable housing
Dec 20, 2021

Merski hosting drive-thru open house Wednesday, Dec. 22
Dec 16, 2021

Merski, Harkins: Grassroots organizations receiving $35,000 for vaccine outreach
Dec 15, 2021

Merski, Harkins: $90,000 awarded to shore up security at Erie campuses
Dec 10, 2021

Merski, Harkins: Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest PA awarded nearly $750,000 for upgrades
Dec 09, 2021

Harkins, Merski: More than $23,000 awarded to fund historical societies, children’s museum
Dec 08, 2021

Harkins, Merski: Erie child protection and advocacy efforts to benefit from more than $400,000 in funding
Dec 08, 2021

Harkins, Merski: $5 million awarded to expand, improve expERIEnce Children’s Museum
Dec 03, 2021

Harkins, Merski: $1.6M awarded to reduce gun violence, assist law enforcement, help former offenders return to community
Dec 01, 2021

Merski, Harkins urge residents to apply now for emergency rental assistance
Nov 18, 2021

Harkins, Merski: Nearly $3 million in tax credits awarded to boost investments in affordable housing, community revitalization, job training
Nov 09, 2021

Harkins, Merski: $200,000 low-interest loan to help fund unique Bayfront dining venue
Nov 03, 2021