The 25-million plus dollars that local businesses, banks and investors have committed to the new Erie Downtown Equity Fund," is expected to keep growing.

That confidence from private investors is the key starting point as John Persinger puts together pieces of the puzzle in his new job, as CEO of the non-profit Erie Downtown Development Corporation.

He took Erie News Now on a walk through a portion of the EDDC footprint, from 3rd Street to Perry Square, and Sassafras to Holland Streets.

His goals are to develop commercial and residential real estate in the neighborhood, and attract residents, businesses and additional investment.

The EDDC has not purchased any properties yet, but it is talking to everyone, to see how their assets and plans may fit with the development corporation's vision.  "Our board president Tim NeCastro has been clear that we’re talking to all the property owners," Persinger said, "because we want to make sure we understand what those owners' long term and short term plans are, so we can figure out if we need to collaborate together, or if they’re looking for the EDDC to work with them in some capacity."

Persinger will visit Cincinnati later this month to visit with leaders at their Center City Development Corporation, which has been an inspiration and role model for the EDDC board as it formulates a vision for its downtown footprint.  He will also meet with YARD & Company, an urban design and development firm.  The EDDC has engaged them for a three month contract to collaborate on ideas Erie can put into action.