Port Authority master plan promotes development of Dobbins Landi - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Port Authority master plan promotes development of Dobbins Landing, Liberty Park

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ERIE, Pa. -

The Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority unveiled their master plan Tuesday that could transform the city's bayfront.

"Making the bayfront a 365 day-a-year destination point is really what this plan is about," said Executive Director Brenda Sandberg.

The master plan, presented as a rough draft by consultants and developers from Detroit, Michigan-based Kahn Associates, is an outline Sandberg says will spur economic growth. Developers are focusing on two key areas to start: Dobbins Landing and Liberty Park. The goal: to connect the bayfront to the city's downtown.

"We centered on Dobbins Landing and Liberty Park for several reasons... they're the largest parcels we have," Sandberg said.

"What we are witnessing are some great plans that could very much compliment with the progress that's happening downtown," said John Buchna, CEO of the Erie Downtown Partnership.

Dobbins Landing and the iconic Bicentennial Tower would become a destination point complete with shops and restaurants, even adding a Ferris Wheel overlooking the bay.

Tim Sedney owns The Cove, Rum Runners and other bayfront businesses. He supports some of the proposals, but he's concerned about others.

"Parking is already an issue on Dobbins Landing, and now they're talking about putting all of this extra development in down there," he said.

Liberty Park would include upper level concert suites, for events like 8 Great Tuesdays; along with additional marina-based retail spaces, even an outdoor fitness center.

"Moving some of the boat storage over to the east side opens up a large development opportunity for some prime real estate," said Sandberg.

Proposed changes for the Lampe Marina on the east bayfront include expanded camping, indoor boat storage, and a new boat launch.

The Port Authority hopes to have a final draft by November. From there it could take 15-20 years before all of these projects are complete, Sandberg said.

All of this, connecting the Port Authority's 72 parcels of land with upcoming private development, such as Scott Enterprises' Harbor Place and other public or private development, such as work on the former GAF site.

Neither the costs nor the funding for any of the proposed projects have been determined, Sandberg said. That will be concluded once the final draft is complete.

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