Erie, PA is an anomaly. You should visit.
Located in the northwest corner of the Commonwealth, well away from the rest of the populace, we are a perfect hub between Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo.
And, when I say “perfect”, I mean it.
We are a vacation destination. We have incredible beauty of nature, here. Our Presque Isle peninsula has eleven public beaches, with walking and biking trails, lagoons for canoes and paddleboats, a campground, warblers, coyote, fox, owl……and, on the lakefront, (“Bayfront”) at the foot of the central artery, its magnificent view blocked by a huge hotel and convention center and not nearly enough of anything else except two restaurants and a tower, there are, nevertheless: sailboat races.
We have the magnificent Erie Art Museum, the leader for Gallery Night at least twice per year for all 14 art galleries to strut their stuff. We have 5 dramatic theater companies (just saw AUGUST: Osage County, and ALL MY SONS, just three blocks from my house – both Broadway quality), 20 dance studios, 2 professional symphony orchestras (Erie Phil/Erie Chamber), the best a cappella choir on the east coast (Erie Renaissance Singers – go listen, at YouTube), and even film societies. Even live poetry readings! The best Jazz anywhere, endless rock bands. A casino and racetrack. An indoor water slide paradise. A huge amusement park. And, hundreds of restaurants, many of them privately owned featuring master chefs.
Yet, we are a distressed city. Go figure.
28% poverty rate. Among 100,000 total population, 4700 vacant housing units, 1900 abandoned (data revealed at a development symposium, attended last evening.) We used to be a thriving manufacturing center; yet, General Electric is dumping jobs like waste and the paper mill has long been gone, leaving behind toxic nickel plating and bronzing, and tool and die, and now three plastics plants likely pouring their poisons into the air and water (thankfully, not near me).
I have an air cleaner, and a filter on my heating system, and a radon mitigation sub slab system, and I never drink or cook with the tap water because we have as much lead (and, toluene) as Flint, MI.
But – we can buy the sweetest spring water. In 32 count bottles, it comes from NY state, sold at the local Tops market. And, everything we ever need is within a ten minute drive, or a twenty minute WALK. I’m serious.
So, if you are a visionary, come.
If you are a city planner, come.
If you are an environmentalist, come.
If you are an investor, please come.
Yes. Come visit.
We need you.
© Ruth Ann Scanzillo 10/13/16