USA. Governor Rendell announced $17 M investment grants to include $2.5 million to Erie Shipbuilding Print E-mail
Monday, 28 August 2006
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Governor Edward G. Rendell announced $17 million in capital grants today to support five projects in Erie that will bolster the city's economy and expand the region's tourism industry.

"When I became Governor, I said we were going to invest in our businesses and communities to create new opportunities," said Governor Rendell. "In the last three-and-a-half years, we've done that by targeting more than $190 million in Erie County to support business growth, revitalize our communities, and equip our hardworking men and women with the skills they need to succeed.

"Today, we're here to announce new investments that will build upon the progress we've made thus far. Not only will these projects produce jobs in the near future, they will help establish the framework for future growth by providing the resources businesses need to compete.

"From manufacturing, to business and technical support, and tourism and the arts, these projects will put more of our skilled laborers to work and bring people back to downtown Erie. That's great news for the city and its residents."

The projects, funded through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, include:

$6.5 million to the Erie County Convention Center Authority to complete work on the parking ramp and the entire project. This $100 million effort -- touted as the largest development project in northwestern Pennsylvania -- will help draw visitors and conventioneers to downtown Erie. Plans call for a 135,000-square-foot convention center, a 200-room, full-service hotel, and a 300-car parking facility along the city's bayfront.

$4 million to support development of the Erie Technology Incubator at Gannon University. This project, a joint effort between the university and the Greater Erie Industrial Development Corporation, will be designed to house high-tech start-up companies dedicated to stimulating the development of advanced technologies. Businesses housed within the incubator will be able to harness the talents and skills of Gannon's faculty and students. Planners expect that this facility has the potential to create 10 new companies and 600 jobs every five years.

$2.5 million to the Erie Municipal Airport Authority to develop the International Trade Center at Erie International Airport/Tom Ridge Field. The authority plans to convert two former aircraft hangars into a 40,000-square-foot facility that will serve as a multi-modal distribution center. The ITC is expected to be a valuable resource for regional businesses that currently operate at a disadvantage given the lack of distribution capacity. When completed, this facility will include cargo operations for air, rail and ground distribution; forward-stored inventory; fabrication operations; light manufacturing; and assembly/disassembly operations. The authority expects 99 new jobs to be created once the project is completed.

$2.5 million to Erie Shipbuilding LLC to help the company expand operations at the former Litton Industries shipyard and dry dock. The company will, primarily, convert existing vessels to tug barges, but will also build new ships for VanEnkevort's Tug and Barge Inc. The company plans to expand VTB's fleet by five to six vessels within three years.

The state grant will help the company with capital expenditures as it seeks to acquire the necessary equipment to outfit the shipyard property. Once up and running, Erie Shipbuilding plans to hire a number of skilled laborers, including metal fabricators, pipe fitters, electricians and welders. The number of employees at the shipyard could reach 200 by 2007, up from approximately 60 today.

$1.5 million to the Erie Art Museum to support the organization's expansion project, which will allow the museum to become a significant regional attraction and tourist destination, while complimenting the other ongoing revitalization projects in the City of Erie. The $9 million expansion project includes a link between the Old Custom's House Building on State Street and the Museum Annex along State and Fifth streets, a new major gallery with several smaller galleries, and public meeting spaces.

The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program is administered by the Office of Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic and historical improvement projects.
Last Updated ( Monday, 28 August 2006 )
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