Connect: Grassroots Efforts to Reshape the Erie Community

By Kyle Rodewald

Gannon University Student Contributor

Continuing the tradition of environmentally conscious excellence that the Erie Art Museum had begun originally, the newest exhibit on the second floor of the museum follows the same trend. The exhibit brings together a variety of ideas proposed by different Erie organizations to improve the vitality of the region and to connect its neighborhoods. Ideas include the pedestrian and bicycle streetscape improvements and a path installation, an Erie Viaduct Plan, the Steve DeAngelo Arrington Community Center, The Presque Isle Connecter, Erie Aquaponics and the Eastside Opportunity Corridor.

The exhibit runs between now and January 10, 2016.

The preliminary designs of a tunnel between East side and Presque Isle suggest a maximum depth of 46 feet and would require integration with the Central Business Division and the Bayfront Highway. The tunnel could possibly connect the entire Bayfront to Beach 11 on Presque Isle. The tunnel would have premium air quality as well as interactive educational screens, a pedestrian boardwalk, LED lighting, electric tram access and emergency vehicle access. According to the exhibit, "the ultimate goal of the Presque Isle Connecter is to promote connections-- physical, social, economic and aesthetic --between Erie's East and West sides, bringing the city together as a single entity.

Bike Erie proposes adding twenty miles of urban trails connecting major parts of the city, such as the three universities, to each other. The idea is that it would be incredibly popular to help increase wellbeing of the citizens, reduce carbon emissions, and help people save money.

Erie Aquaponics, proposed just east of the Eastside Opportunity Corridor, would provide self-contained agricultural systems that would circulate water in order to reduce waste, control the environment that grows the agriculture, avoid the use of pesticides, and increase food production for the community per square foot.

The Erie Art Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm. It is closed on Mondays.