Downtown Erie, Pennsylvania is being revitalized with the help of the Erie Downtown Development Corporation, (EDDC) and Extreme Networks. Gannon University has partnered with these organizations to bring new professional technical training opportunities to the region. The Gannon Institute for Health and Cyber Knowledge (I-HACK) will be equipped with state-of-the-art networking technology, boosting the University’s cyber program and offering Extreme certification training to students prior to graduation.
EDDC is a privately funded nonprofit led by a group of business and community leaders that was formed in 2017, dedicated to transforming the city of Erie’s downtown core and sparking revitalization across the region. We had a chance to speak with the CEO, John Persinger, on EDDC efforts to revitalize the downtown Erie area and how the Gannon-Extreme partnership fits into the mix.
EDDC has acquired 12 buildings, currently working on revitalizing up to 500,000 sq. ft. in the heart of downtown, with some buildings dating back as far as 1839. Like many rust belt communities, this area has several vacant, abandoned, and underutilized properties, but with combined efforts of EDDC, Gannon, Extreme and other partners, EDDC is diving headfirst into turning these spaces around.
”They have holes in the roofs, missing floorboards, exposed wirings…we definitely have a challenge ahead of us. But the board raised close to $30 million and we’re looking to leverage another $120 million to revitalize the downtown core.” -John Persinger, CEO, EDDC
The buildings EDDC will be revitalizing are intended to be brought into the 21st century, fitted with all the technology and smart building features that citizens are excited to see in today’s age. As efforts continue and projects come to fruition, the EDDC expects an increased interest in investments, recruiting companies and students excited and encouraged to stay in the area and graduate from local institutions
With a specialized focus on making great spaces, the EDDC recognizes the importance of great partners in their quest to revitalize the city. Part of their efforts are aimed specifically at expanding technology opportunities in the downtown core and working closely with the city and area innovation district to accomplish this.
In fact, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania contributed a major grant for downtown streetscaping efforts, included new sidewalks, streets, and expansion of fiber in the downtown network core. Additionally, the EDDC plans to include smart light poles throughout the downtown area to extend Wi-Fi access to individuals living, working and visiting downtown.
“It’s an exciting time and area. We’re excited about the partnership between Extreme and Gannon and we’re very, very bullish on the future. it’s a unique opportunity to witness the transformation of these buildings – we’re going from being a 17th and 18th-century community to a 21st-century community.” -John Persinger, CEO, EDDC
As Extreme continues to develop our relationship with both Gannon University and EDDC, we look forward to bearing witness to the city’s transformation and providing support for their innovation goals along the way.