Submitted by Colleen Campbell, Intern Erie Regional Chamber
Historically, law has preserved the rights of some while undermining the dignity of many. Across the country, formal institutions have segregated people by race and socioeconomic class, and upon their revision have done little to repair the divisions that prejudiced real estate practices have imbedded among the American people.
Today, in innumerable ways the law still legitimizes the marginalization of minority communities and allows developers to consider their displacement as an afterthought or an unintended mistake. The law permits an abhorrent lack of concern for other human beings, and we often observe no community action in response.
As Erie is faced with a number of opportunities for economic growth and development, it is our responsibility to hold our city to a higher standard than that which has been set by state and federal legislation. We must consciously prioritize the mitigation of externalities which have displaced and disrespected underserved community members across the country.
To start, our city can take inventory. Research suggests that a number of factors impact the probability that a neighborhood will be gentrified. At particular risk are neighborhoods with low median incomes, large shares of nonfamily households and minority residents, and inexpensive multi-unit and rental options. While large urban areas with tremendous amounts of investment and fast-paced development are most likely to gentrify communities, smaller cities like Erie are at high risk for displacing residents in vulnerable neighborhoods adjacent to downtown and central business district activity.
Once the city has conducted a baseline survey of risk, it must move forward by differentiating itself from destructive development practices of the past. We now know as economists, developers, and entrepreneurs that a passive role is not enough to combat the forces which drive growth at the expense of underserved residents. Community growth is in some senses pareto efficient and as such, displacement is deliberate.
In global economic development, we often find that the growth of nations is dependent upon the redistribution of political and economic freedoms. At a local level, this may be done through the inclusion of a diverse set of local voices in the decision-making process of development strategies. Leaders of neighborhood organizations and local nonprofits represent the voices of the community and should not be excluded from conversations relating to the future of our city. Additionally, if a city has failed to develop without causing displacement, it is the role of Erie’s Chamber and other development organizations to actively seek advice from other metropolitan areas on what could have been done differently if given the chance that we have now.
Finally, just because the law permits municipalities to make development decisions based on good feelings and unrelated precedent doesn’t mean that Erie should. Our city has a tremendous need for frequent data collection, analysis, and dispersal. As we implement policy and accept investments and developments, we must also evaluate and react to change. Once we observe measurements of change, it is essential that community leaders do not ignore the signs.
Please help us welcome the new members to the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership who joined the organization in July!
Thank you for your investment. We look forward to working with you!
Our members represent nearly 800 companies in the Erie region. Do you know of a business that could benefit from becoming a member of the Erie Regional Chamber? Refer them to Steve Walters, Member Engagement Manager, for details and information and share with them the link below.
In partnership with Lilly Broadcasting, the Erie Regional Chamber sponsors Giving You the Business segments which air weekly on WSEE35 and WICU12 during the 5:30 PM. Monday broadcast and Tuesday mornings in the 6-7 AM. hour. Each segment takes viewers behind the scenes of
Last months highlighted members:
Giving You the Business segments highlight members of the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership, and is a free membership benefit! Contact our office if you would like viewers to see behind the scenes at your business! Email marketing director Nadeen Schmitz, or phone 814-454-7191 x139 to schedule your segment.
In the past 10 years, Erie has recovered from the Great Recession, welcomed an unprecedented number of New Americans, and developed and enacted a number of initiatives to revitalize our downtown area, bayfront, and neighborhoods. Some residents have enjoyed growth in the business community, while others have suffered from rapidly changing demand for particular skill sets.
Erie has absolutely changed, and in 2020, we will have the chance to document the underlying truth of our transformation.
The city has just one chance every decade to accurately report who is being represented in our policy decisions. As the Census Bureau compiles information on cities across the country, this information is used determine who is being represented in local, state, and federal policy. Data collected by the Bureau just once every 10 years has the power to determine the amount of funding that our city may receive, in addition to the number of representatives that our state is apportioned in Congress.
The count has the power to inform (or misinform) community development initiatives, research, and investment decisions. Just once every 10 years, our city is entrusted the responsibility of speaking to politicians, community leaders, nonprofits, and businesses about the fabric of Erie and the needs of its people.
At the greatest risk of being miscounted are demographic groups such as the elderly, young children, immigrants, people of color, and low-income residents. While statisticians at the Bureau have developed methods of adjustment for undercounts of these populations, they are often viewed as subjective and imperfect.
As a community, we should desire and thus facilitate an accurate count of everyone. Otherwise, we rest our fate in the hands of statisticians who have never before seen the vibrancy of our home. The development of our community depends on our ability to demonstrate our story, which to date involves strong potential and momentum for growth and an urgent need for intergovernmental support.
The Bureau will utilize a well-researched and somewhat effective mechanism of digital marketing to encourage participation in the count, however in a community of underserved residents with well-founded distrust in our legislators, it is the job of neighborhood, nonprofit, and community leaders to reach out to populations that are at great risk of being overlooked, and to provide them with the resources that they need to properly respond to the survey. This may include computers in the case in which the Census is digitalized or translators for the unprecedented number of New Americans who now call Erie home.
Community leaders must also educate our residents of the significance of the count, and how impactful each response may be. It is our duty as a city to ensure that those populations which are often overlooked at a national level are not excluded from policy consideration once again.
Our August morning networking event was held this week and hosted by the United Way of Erie County at their offices on West 6th Street. It was a great opportunity to see and learn more about the organization and all they do in the Erie region. Guests gave their 2-minute pitches on what their own organizations and companies have to offer, and there was plenty of time to mingle.
A little about our host. President Bill Jackson explained that the United Way of Erie County is a social impact organization. They know education is the key to ending poverty. He stated that when kids are well-fed, well-rested, and getting the support they need, they are far more likely to succeed in school, therefore in life. The United Way of Erie County is on a mission to remove barriers to learning and to ensure families have the stability to achieve financial growth. They are on a mission to crush poverty.
What we learned from a few of our members:
Thank you once again to the United Way for being such gracious hosts!
Our August Business After Hours event was hosted by the Erie International Airport on Thursday, August 15th.
Wow! The team at EIA have been busy sprucing up the airport with enhancements like new flooring, new seating, tables with built-in power, signage, and so much more! We were delighted to see the changes made and the atmosphere is even more inviting in welcoming visitor to our home.
Thank you for being gracious hosts for our August evening event!
Join us for our next morning networking event on September 10th at Molly Brannigan's, 506 State Street in downtown Erie.
This event is FREE to ERCGP members, but space is limited to 30 guests and pre-registration is required. If you have attended a Connect 4 Coffee event in the past, preference will be given to those members who have not attended previously.
We flipped the script. In the past, Erie Homecoming invited expats back home to tell of their successes and to inspire us as a community. This year, we invited expats, residents, community leaders, investment professionals, and more to hear our story and to be inspired at the two-day conference. And over 300 people came to hear it.
At the Erie Homecoming event held last week. attendees came from near and far to hear about Erie, about where we are as a community, and where we are looking to go as far as growth and investment.
Day 1 was all about us, Erie, and was captured perfectly by Rob Frank and team at R.Frank Photography. Day 1 opened with local rapper Charles Brown, accompanied by Kieran Hanlon, performing Mad World. Speakers included John Lettieri, President & CEO of the Economic Innovation Group, and Scott Turner, Executive Director of the White House Opportunity & Revitalization Council. The audience then heard from community leaders who spoke of why their organizations and companies are investing in Erie. Dennis Davin, Secretary of PA DCED also told us why the commonwealth is investing in Erie.
Attendees toured a number of the Opportunity Zones in the city starting at Harbor Place. Dinner was hosted by the Erie Downtown Development Corporation and the evening concluded with Keynote Secretary Benjamin Carson, Housing and Urban Development.
The Erie Regional Chamber is proud to have brought the event to our community as well as the potential investors who were here for 2 days, starting conversations.
Photo Credit: R.Frank Photography