Erie’s mayor has unveiled his vision for Erie’s future.

Erie is a Community of Choice
We celebrate our:
-Diverse cultures
-Welcoming, vibrant neighborhoods,
-World-class downtown and Bayfront,
-Schools of excellence, and
-Abundance of family-sustaining jobs.

During a news conference Thursday, Mayor Joe Schember said his administration has come up with specific ways to achieve his vision, “We want to value our diverse cultures, we have great diversity in Erie but we don't value that enough. We need good, family-sustaining jobs and an abundance of those, we don't have that right now, but this is our vision for the future,” said Schember. “A world class downtown and Bayfront is a big part of it, welcoming vibrant neighborhoods, these are the things we want to accomplish, that's what we want Erie to look like going forward,” Schember continued.

Targeting blight is a big part of the plan.

And on Thursday, the Apartment Association of Northwest Pennsylvania announced it's dropping a six-year old lawsuit against the city for its rental inspection program.

This, after the two came up with a plan to fix problems with the city's program, “It has been refreshing to have a great new administration that has given the opportunity for city hall and private enterprise to work together to build a better city,” said Jason Pero, President of the Apartment Association of Northwest Pa. “City hall and the Apartment Association stand together in trying to eliminate blight, improve the city's housing stock, and believing that our city can thrive again,” Pero continued.

Currently, the city inspects apartments once every two years. But under the new plan, if an apartment passes inspection two times, it will then be inspected once every four years.
For those landlords, the inspection fee would also decrease from $40 to $30, “We're very pleased with the changes, we believe this will incentivize landlords that are already taking care of their properties, or already good citizens, to continue to do so by rewarding them with less frequent rental inspections, and a lower inspection fee,” said Pero.

Creating welcoming neighborhoods is also part of the mayor’s vision. One way they’re doing that right now is by fixing some of the worst roads in the city.

The city will spend more than 4.8 Million on street paving this season, “Improved streets and ride ability will make the city a more inviting place, we're doing a lot of work at some of the gateways and downtown areas, as well as residential areas,” said City Engineer Jon Tushak.

In terms of celebrating diversity, the mayor also touted the city’s Strengthening Police and Community Partnerships group.

It’s a diverse group of individuals working to bridge the gap between police and the community, “I think we have a nice diverse group, there's a lot of people that have a lot of positive energy that they bring to the community, and now being able to express that into a relationship and partnering with the police to get some things solved and moving forward, I think we have a great group," said group member David Johnson.

Schember says he realizes his vision is bold, and it won’t come to fruition overnight, but he’s  excited to see the first steps underway, in making his vision a reality.