Erie (United States)

All Sources -
Updated Media sources (0) About content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

Erie: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Erie has a diverse economy, which helps buffet it against national downturns. Manufacturing jobs make up more than one-quarter of the Erie area workforce. Erie has the highest concentration of toolmakers of any place in the nation. More than 10 percent of the nation's plastics injection molding is done in Erie, and four of the nation's top 50 plastics companies are located there. Products in well over 135 different classifications are made in Erie. Erie is also a major retail center, drawing shoppers from the tri-state area and Canada. Major service providers include the headquarters of Erie Insurance Group, large regional hospitals, several telemarketing companies, and the Gertrude Barber Center. Erie has a large tourism industry with visitors drawn by the beaches and unique nature of Presque Isle State Park, the U.S. Brig Niagara, a maritime museum, and other historical and recreational attractions. Agriculture is still a viable industry; Erie County produces cherries and grapes.

Items and goods produced: plastics products, locomotives, boilers, engines, meters, turbines, castings, forgings, pipe equipment, motors, diesel engines, paper, grapes, cherries

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

The Erie Area Chamber of Commerce is the first stop for companies considering relocating or expanding to the Erie area. The Chamber sends information and sits down with company representatives to determine their needs; it serves as a clearinghouse and referral agent to other businesses and agencies that can help with commercial real estate, financing, business planning, and regulations. The Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) program was designed in 2002. The city, school district, and county adopted ordinances to provide for a beneficial investment incentive for commercial and residential properties throughout the city of Erie. The ordinances provide for a 10-year period of 100 percent eligible tax exemption.

State programs

Funding programs offered by the state include bond financing, grants, loans and loan guarantees, tax credits and abatements, and technical assistance. The Key-stone Opportunity Zone has designated some areas as exempt from state and local business taxes; these areas will remain virtually tax-exempt until 2013. The state's Job Creation Tax Credits program provides $1,000-per-job tax credit to approved businesses that agree to create jobs within three years.

Job training programs

State funding provides for programs such as Customized Job Training, School-to-Work initiatives, and the Dislocated Workers Unit. In Erie, the Regional Occupational Skill Center offers training in such areas as basic machining, tool-and-die pre-apprenticeships, and industrial maintenance. Northwest Pennsylvania Technical Institute offers technical training "without walls" in partnership with local colleges and other educational institutions. Training is based on worker needs and industry specifications.

Development Projects

Warner Theatre, showcase for the performing arts in Erie, recently completed renovations designed to upgrade the facility, as well as preserve its historical character. In addition to the restoration of the opulent furnishings that make the theater a community landmark, the loading dock was expanded and the stage area was improved. Erie's landmark downtown Boston Store (with its famous clock) was renovated to include affordable apartments and numerous offices. It is also home of the Erie Chamber of Commerce and several locally owned radio stations where disc jockeys can be observed through the windows.

More than $25 million in federal and state funding has been obtained by the city, including $12 million for Erie's new Bayfront Convention Center as well as $5 million from the governor's economic surplus package for the next phase of improvements of the Koehler Brewery Square. The convention center is expected to be completed by 2007 and will provide an additional 120,000 square feet of exhibit and convention space to the already existing three-building Civic Center Complex. A hotel will also be added.

New home construction increased by 538 percent in 2003 with the residential Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance program. The development of a new Wal-Mart was negotiated in a vacant plaza on the east side of town, which created more than 300 jobs and additional reinvestment in what had been a blighted neighborhood.

Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park Resort, Pennsylvania's only indoor water park, opened in February 2003. This resort complex comprises the water park and a Lazer Tag arena, as well as numerous hotels from which guests can access the park without having to go outside. Ground was broken in 2002 for the 58,000-square-foot Tom Ridge Center at Presque Isle State Park. The recently completed facility serves as a new regional learning, research, and visitor-information facility directly outside the park entrance.

Erie's Intermodal Transportation Center was officially opened in November 2002. The $8.9-million project serves as a hub for many modes of transportation, including buses, taxi cabs, limousines, and bicycle. The 33,500-square-foot heated space also provides parking for 151 vehicles. Plans are underway for a $53-million runway expansion at the Erie International Airport, Tom Ridge Field.

Economic Development Information: Erie Area Chamber of Commerce, 208 E. Bayfront Parkway, Suite 100, Erie, PA, 16507; telephone (814)454-7191; fax (814)459-0241

Commercial Shipping

The Port of Erie, Pennsylvania's only lake port, handles imports and exports through the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Atlantic Coast and is a major distribution center for shipping and receiving goods to and from foreign countries.

Erie is served by Conrail, some 60 truck and motor freight companies, and several air cargo companies, providing convenient access to large metropolitan centers throughout the United States and Ontario, Canada. Interstates 79 and 90, intersecting just south of the city, provide easy access to all points in the country.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Erie ranks high in the United States in the diversity of its industry and has a history of good labor-management relations. According to Mayor Richard Filippi, more than 1,000 new jobs were created in 2003, as well as more than 30 business startups.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Erie metropolitan labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 131,100

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 4,800

manufacturing: 24,400

trade, transportation, and utilities: 22,700

information: 2,700

financial activities: 6,800

professional and business services: 11,200

educational and health services: 23,600

leisure and hospitality: 12,600

other services: 6,200

government: 16,200

Average hourly wage of production workers employed in manufacturing: $14.72

Unemployment rate: 4.9% (April 2005)

Largest employers (in Erie County) Number of employees
General Electric Company (locomotives, D.C. Motors) 5,500
St. Vincent Medical Center 2,700
Hamot Medical Center 2,500
Plastek Industries 2,000
Erie Insurance Group 1,750
Erie School District 1,425
Giant Eagle (supermarkets) 1,350

Cost of Living

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors for the Erie area.

2004 ACCRA Average House Price: Not reported

2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported

State income tax rate: 3.07%

State sales tax rate: 6.0%

Local income tax rate: 1.0%

Local sales tax rate: None

Property tax rate: 49.45 mills per 100% of assessed value, which is typically 25 to 30% of market price (2004)

Economic Information: Erie Area Chamber of Commerce, 208 E. Bayfront Parkway, Suite 100, Erie, PA, 16501; telephone (814)454-7191; fax (814)459-0241

views updated

Erie: Recreation


Erie's most popular historical site is Commodore Perry's ship, the USS Niagara, a brig reconstructed for the centennial of the battle that took place in 1813 which was restored in 1990. In 1998, the Niagara 's berth moved a few hundred yards to the new Erie Maritime Museum, where it is on display when in port. The Shipwright Gift Shop is located there as well. The Bicentennial Tower offers an aerial view of Erie's Harbor, and a tour is available from 16 stations at the observation level of the tower.

The city's most notable buildingsthe Old Custom House, now the Erie Art Museum; and Cashiers House, home to the collection of the Erie County Historical Societystand side-by-side on State Street. Several other historical sites and turn-of-the-century mansions are located throughout the area. The Erie History Center presents changing exhibits on industry, architecture, and local history. The Battles Museums of Rural Life allows visitors to explore 130 acres of farmlands and woodlands, two houses, and a bank. Walking tours are sponsored by The Erie County Historical Society.

The 3,200-acre Presque Isle State Park attracts more than four million visitors annually. The park offers spectacular views of the sun setting over Lake Erie in addition to the usual park amenities. Near the entrance to the park is Waldameer Park and Water World, open mid-May until Labor Day.

The 15-acre Erie Zoological Park and Botanical Garden of Northwest Pennsylvania welcomes some 400,000 visitors each year. The main building transports visitors to Africa, as all the animals are from Africa or Madagascar. Visits to wineries in the outlying areas are also popular with visitors to Erie. The Experience Children's Museum provides hands-on fun for children and adults at its Gallery of Science and Gallery of the Human Experience. Visitors might also consider a trip to historic Chautauqua, located just east of Erie, which offers a summer program of concerts and educational and spiritual pursuits in a 750-acre park-like setting. The new Splash Lagoon is a $21-million indoor water park that is open year-round.

Arts and Culture

Several cultural organizations make up the Erie Arts Council. Among these are the Erie Philharmonic, which conducts symphonic and pops programs, and the Erie Civic Music Association, which presents concerts at the elegant Warner Theatre in the Civic Center complex. The Warner Theatre is a major cultural arts center in the region. The 2,500-seat facility is undergoing renovation in 2005 to upgrade and preserve the historic building. The Roadhouse Theatre presents "dark, intense drama and outrageous comedy." The Erie Playhouse presents local talent in a variety of theatrical works at its renovated downtown theater; it has been cited as one of the top ten community theaters in the country. The Erie Chamber Orchestra provides free Friday concerts at bayfront churches and cathedrals. The Lake Erie Ballet Company's annual presentation of "The Nutcracker" is considered a community classic.

The 800-seat Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center at Mercyhurst College offers outstanding acoustics and a schedule of world-class entertainers using state-of-the-art computerized sound and lighting systems and a performance stage of 3,400 square feet.

The Erie Art Museum, which offers exhibits, classes, concerts, children's activities and tours, is located in the historic Old Customs House. The Anthony Wayne Memorial Blockhouse Museum is a replica of the blockhouse where the general died in 1796. The museum is located on the grounds of the Pennsylvania Soldiers' and Sailors' Home. Other popular sights in Erie include the Erie Historical Museum and Planetarium, housed in a restored Victorian residence; Lake Shore Railway Museum; and the Firefighters Historical Museum.

Festivals and Holidays

Among Erie's major annual celebrations is the Erie Summer Festival of the Arts, which offers free performances and art exhibits at the Liberty Park and Pepsi Amphitheater. July brings Harborfest at Harborcreek Community Park. The Wattsburg (Erie County) Fair takes place in August and the Wine Country Harvest Festival is held in September. Erie's winter festival features holiday events including a Festival of Trees, ZooLumination at the Erie Zoo, and "The Nut-cracker" ballet performance. First Night is an alcohol-free New Year's Eve celebration for children and adults.

Sports for the Spectator

The Erie Otters, a professional team in the Ontario Hockey League, entertain fans at the Erie Civic Center. At the 6,000-seat Jerry Uht Ball Field, the Erie SeaWolves, AA affiliates of the Detroit Tigers, play professional baseball from June until September.

Sports for the Participant

Erie's Presque Isle State Park, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Pennsylvania and the state's only beach park, draws more than 5 million visitors annually. The park offers a full array of year-round recreational opportunities, including swimming, boating, and skiing. The now-clean waters of Lake Erie contain more than 20 species of freshwater fish, and fishing can be enjoyed throughout the year. The Erie area supports a thriving boat rental industry. The City Parks Department operates a variety of indoor and outdoor facilities offering 107 tennis courts, 27 golf courses, and 128 swimming pools, among other amenities. U.S. Route 6, an official bicycle route, passes through the Erie area. Just outside the city is a ski resort, and the Allegheny National Forest is nearby.

Shopping and Dining

Erie has become a regional shopping center attracting shoppers from the tri-state area and Canada. Shopping venues have expanded considerably in recent years. The city has two huge plazas off upper Peach Street near I-90, and a third one, Erie Marketplace Plaza, anchored by a Target store, opened in 2001. The Millcreek Mall underwent a 1.5-million-square-foot expansion and is now home to more than 150 stores. More than 2,000 retail establishments are located in Erie, in 12 large shopping centers and 54 smaller centers. On the west side of town, Village West offers specialty stores in a New England style atmosphere. Various outlet and discount stores and antique shops are located throughout the Erie County area.

American and Italian cuisines are well represented on Erie area bills of fare, as are several other ethnicities. Pubs, grills, and café's are among the most popular eateries in the area; fast food and fine dining establishments round out the offerings.

Visitor Information: Erie Area Tourist and Convention Bureau, Inc., 208 E. Bayfront Parkway, Suite 103, Erie, PA 16507; telephone (814)454-7191

views updated

Erie: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Community support for quality education is strong in Erie County, where several new schools have recently been built or renovated. Erie's East High and Millcreek's Belle Valley Elementary and Walnut Creek Middle School have won various awards.

The following is a summary of data regarding Erie public schools as of the 20012002 school year.

Total enrollment: 12,886

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 14

junior high/middle schools: 3

senior high schools: 3

other: 1

Student/teacher ratio: 15.5:1

Teacher salaries

minimum: $28,500

maximum: $66,000

Funding per pupil: $7,042 (20012002)

The Catholic diocese of Erie oversees 22 elementary and secondary schools in the area.

Public Schools Information: The School District of the City of Erie, PA, 148 W. 21st Street, Erie, PA 16501; telephone (814)874-6000

Colleges and Universities

Erie has four colleges and a medical school: Edinboro University of Pennsylvania (approximately 7,500 students), Gannon University (more than 3,300 students), Mercyhurst College (about 3,000 students), Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (more than 600 students), and Penn State Erie (The Behrend College, with nearly 4,000 students). Career and technical training are offered at the Northwestern Pennsylvania Technical Institute and the Erie Business Center.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Erie County Library is headquartered in Erie; the main facility is the Raymond M. Blasco, M.D., Memorial Library. The library's four branches house well over a half-million volumes, and bookmobile service is available to rural areas. General Electric Company, Hammermill Paper Company, and Lord Corporation maintain technical libraries in the city. Erie's two largest health care organizations maintain medical libraries, and Mercyhurst College's collection includes the records of Erie County industries.

Erie is also home to the Erie County Historical Society Library/Archives, with its extensive holdings; the Erie County Law Library; and the Northwest Institute of Research Library. Research centers in the area include Mercyhurst College Cancer Research Unit, Gannon University's Center for Economic Education and Engineering Research Institute; Hamot Medical Center's research unit; and the Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute.

Public Library Information: Erie County Public Library System, 160 E. Front Street, Erie, PA 16507; telephone (814)451-6900; fax (814) 451-6907; email [email protected]

views updated

Erie: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents

1980: 280,000

1990: 275,572

2000: 280,843

Percent change, 19902000: 2%

U.S. rank in 1980: 111th

U.S. rank in 1990: 124th

U.S. rank in 2000: 135th

City Residents

1980: 119,123

1990: 108,718

2000: 103,717

Percent change, 19902000: -4.2%

U.S. rank in 1980: 130th

U.S. rank in 1990: 175th

U.S. rank in 2000: 247th (State rank: 3rd)

Density: 4,722.9 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 83,550

Black: 14,724

American Indian and Alaska Native: 232

Asian: 776

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 42

Hispanic (may be of any race): 4,572

Other: 1,991

Percent of residents born in state: 79.7% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 7,849

Population 5 to 9 years old: 7,844

Population 10 to 14 years old: 6,978

Population 15 to 19 years old: 7.615

Population 20 to 24 years old: 8,418

Population 25 to 34 years old: 14,854

Population 35 to 44 years old: 14,722

Population 45 to 54 years old: 12,109

Population 55 to 59 years old: 4,283

Population 60 to 64 years old: 3,474

Population 65 to 74 years old: 7,395

Population 75 to 84 years old: 6,409

Population 85 years and over: 2,127

Median age: 34.1 years (2000)

Births (2002, Erie County)

Total number: 3,372

Deaths (2003, Erie County)

Total number: 2,695 (of which, 23 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $14,972

Median household income: $28,387

Total households: 40,908

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 2,166

$10,000 to $14,999: 1,638

$15,000 to $24,999: 4,091

$25,000 to $34,999: 3,896

$35,000 to $49,999: 5,136

$50,000 to $74,999: 5,115

$75,000 to $99,999: 1,763

$100,000 to $149,999: 626

$150,000 to $199,999: 153

$200,000 or more: 162

Percent of families below poverty level: 13.8% (54.4% of which were female householder families with children under the age of 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 3,560

views updated


Erie: Introduction
Erie: Geography and Climate
Erie: History
Erie: Population Profile
Erie: Municipal Government
Erie: Economy
Erie: Education and Research
Erie: Health Care
Erie: Recreation
Erie: Convention Facilities
Erie: Transportation
Erie: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1795 (incorporated, 1851)

Head Official: Mayor Richard E. Filippi (since 2002)

City Population

1980: 119,123

1990: 108,718

2000: 103,717

Percent change, 19902000: -4.2%

U.S. rank in 1980: 130th

U.S. rank in 1990: 175th

U.S. rank in 2000: 247th (State rank: 3rd)

Metropolitan Area Population

1980: 280,000

1990: 275,572

2000: 280,843

Percent change, 19902000: 2%

U.S. rank in 1980: 111th

U.S. rank in 1990: 124th

U.S. rank in 2000: 135th

Area: 22 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 710 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 51.9° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 38.1 inches of rain; 77.9 inches of snow

Major Economic Sectors: Manufacturing, services, retail trade

Unemployment Rate: 4.9% (April 2005)

Per Capita Income: $14,972 (1999)

2004 ACCRA Average House Price: Not reported

2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 3,560

Major Colleges and Universities: Penn State Erie Campus; Gannon University

Daily Newspapers: Erie Daily Times; Erie Morning News

views updated

Erie: History

Erie was named after the Eriez tribe, which was destroyed by a combination of pestilence and the Seneca nation under Chief Cornplanter in the mid-seventeenth century. The first European settlers in the area were the French, who built Fort Presque Isle on the city's site in 1753. The French abandoned the fort to the English, who lost it in 1763 at the start of Pontiac's Rebellion. When General "Mad" Anthony Wayne induced the native tribes to make peace in 1794, the area was opened to settlement. The city was laid out in 1795 and became a port, engaged principally in the salt trade, in 1801.

The city's history throughout the nineteenth century was dominated by harbor activity. In 1813, in what is often referred to as Erie's proudest historical moment, Commodore Oliver Perry defeated the British in the Battle of Lake Erie. Most of Commodore Perry's ships were built in Erie.

The importance of the city and its port gradually diminished throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as the development of automobiles, the railroad, and airplanes eroded the lake trade. The 1980s saw Erie's residents engaged in heated debates over the question of how they saw their city's future: Should Erie remain a "provincial" town devoted to waterfront activity, or should it reform its image into that of a "progressive" town? The debate continues today. Whatever the answer, Erie is respectful of its reputation as a rising entrepreneurial hotspot determined to maintain quality of life while making room for mindful progress. As the twenty-first century is well underway, Erie continues to improve economically; the city has seen new jobs and new business startups, as well as a reversal of urban sprawl and a reinvestment in city living.

Historical Information: Erie County Historical Society, 419 State Street, Erie, PA 16501; telephone (814)454-1813

views updated

Erie: Geography and Climate

Erie, the northernmost city in Pennsylvania, is located on the southeast shore of Lake Erie. Presque Isle, a 7-mile-long peninsula, curves around the city's harbor. The terrain rises gradually in a series of ridges.

Cold air masses moving south from Canada in the winter are modified by the relatively warm waters of Lake Erie, but the temperature difference between air and water produces cloudiness and frequent snow from November through March. Spring weather is usually cloudy and cool. Summer heat waves are tempered by cool lake breezes, and autumn, with its long dry periods and an abundance of sunshine, is usually the most pleasant season. Precipitation is well distributed throughout the year.

Area: 22 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 710 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 28.2° F; July, 70.9° F; average annual temperature, 51.9° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 38.1 inches of rain; 77.9 inches of snow

views updated

Erie: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

The Times Publishing Company provides newspaper readers with the dailies the Erie Morning News and the Erie Daily Times, and the weeklies the Erie Sunday Times, Weekender on Saturday morning, and Your Money on Thursday. Magazines published in Erie include Erie & Chautauqua Magazine, Pax Christi USA, the Fraternal Leader, a Christian family magazine, and two business trade publications, Builder/Dealer and Business Systems Dealer.

Television and Radio

Television viewers in Erie are entertained by four television networks. Cable service is also available. Four AM and 10 FM radio stations broadcast from Erie.

Media Information: Times Publishing Company, 205 West 12th Street, Erie, PA 15634; telephone (814)870-1600

Erie Online

City of Erie Home Page. Available

Erie Chamber of Commerce. Available

Erie County Public Library. Available

Erie School District. Available

Erie Tourist Information. Available

School District Profile. Available

Selected Bibliography

Daughters of the American Revolution, Soldiers of the American Revolution Who at Some Time Were Residents of, or Whose Graves . . . (Erie, PA: 1929)

Erie Yesterday, Erie County, Pennsylvania (Arcadia Tempus Publishing Group, 1997)

views updated

Erie: Health Care

Saint Vincent Health Center is the Erie area's largest health care provider. More than 400 staff physicians offer a full range of health care services. In addition, the staff specializes in peripheral vascular and intra-abdominal laser surgery. Its maternity center delivers more than 2,000 babies each year.

Hamot Medical Center, with a staff of more than 200 physicians, is Erie's second largest hospital. It offers total patient care and specializes in trauma, cancer, and high-risk infant care. Hamot offers specialty services through the Cardiopulmonary Center, Sports Medicine Center, the Institute for Behavioral Health, the Endoscopy Center and others. It is ranked among the nations top cardiovascular hospitals.

Erie's Millcreek Community Hospital is 135-bed acute-care teaching facility; it also provides 24-hour emergency care, physical therapy, laboratory, pharmacy, respiratory therapy, and other services. The Shriners Hospital for Children is one of 22 in the United States that accepts and treats children with orthopedic problems, utilizing the latest treatments and technology.

Erie's nationally known Dr. Gertrude A. Barber Center has four facilities in Pennsylvania that provide education, research, and state-of-the-art services for individuals with disabilities and their families.

views updated

Erie: Convention Facilities

Erie's Civic Center Complex is a three-building, $20-million complex. The complex includes the Louis J. Tullio Convention Center, which seats more than 7,000 people for concerts, conventions, and sporting events; an adjacent Exhibit Hall, which features 36,000 square feet of exhibit/convention space and state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment; and the Warner Theatre. By 2007 a fourth addition is expected to openthe new $45-million Bayfront Convention Center. This 120,000-square-foot facility will overlook Presque Isle Bay. A new hotel will be added that connects it to the convention center. Some 3,200 area hotel and motel rooms support these facilities.

Convention Information: Erie Area Chamber of Commerce, 208 E. Bayfront Parkway, Suite 100, Erie, PA, 16507; telephone (814)454-7191; fax (814)459-0241


Erie (United States)