The Erie Downtown Development Corporation (EDDC) is taking a big step forward in its goal of helping the city grow.  The Plastek Group, this morning, gave the EDDC $2.5 million to be used for its equity fund.

The fund will be used to obtain and develop real estate in Erie's downtown core.  The ultimate goal is to increase Erie's tax base and population by creating a vibrant downtown.

The donation from Plastek brings the EDDC's equity fund to just over $27 million.    The EDDC envisions its real estate acquisitions to turn into development opportunities such as mixed income housing, retail and dining establishments, and showcases for the arts.

The equity fund is growing, but not one property acquisition has taken place so far.  CEO John Persinger says the first purchase should be coming soon.

"Very soon.  I can tell you very soon,” he said..  “We are doing our due diligence on a number of properties.  As I'm sure people could imagine, some of those properties that are in downtown are over 100 years old.  So to do due diligence on those types of properties takes some time."

Plastek also donated $150,000 to the EDDC for its efforts to enhance public spaces, and to create events and activities to draw people downtown.