A panel of outside experts today unveiled a preliminary report designed to help the City of Erie, especially the downtown.

Eleven members of the Urban Land Institute outlined their findings today to a large group of Erie political, business and community leaders.

Many of the members have taken part in major redevelopment projects in other cities.

They say the key to transforming Erie's downtown and neighborhoods is city government taking the lead, organizations closely cooperating, and keeping the community informed about changes.

Members say while challenges remain, they are optimistic about the chance for success.

Panel Chairman Dick Reynolds said, "The primary ingredients are there. The enthusiasm, the money. Now it is keeping up the momentum. It is not stopping too often. People say they are all set, we are underway. Yes we are, but keep it going. But I think we are optimistic about the future of Erie."

Panel members have been in Erie since Sunday, getting a first hand look at the challenges the city faces to move forward in the next few years.