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Press Release

Erie neighborhoods to benefit from major investment in Sisters of St. Joseph Neighborhood Network

ERIE, Pa. (Feb. 16, 2017) — The Sisters of St. Joseph Neighborhood Network (SSJNN) today announced the receipt of investments to total $1,560,000 from Erie corporations toward SSJNN neighborhood revitalization initiatives in Erie.

Through the Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credit program of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, five corporate partners have pledged investments over the next six years, including: Highmark Health, Marquette Savings Bank, Northwest Bank, Erie Insurance, and PNC Bank.

  • $900,000 — Highmark Health
  • $300,000 — Marquette Savings Bank
  • $300,000 — Northwest Bank
  • $50,000 — Erie Insurance
  • $10,000 — PNC Bank

"This investment represents our commitment to the people in the neighborhoods designated in this program," said Highmark Health President and CEO David Holmberg. "This revitalization initiative has the potential to change lives and futures for these communities, and we are proud to lead the way in this effort."

Holmberg noted that by improving the neighborhoods and working to advance the lives of its residents, the project will have a lasting impact on the community at large as well.

The SSJNN, sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, is dedicated to providing leadership, advocacy, and collaboration with the communities it serves to develop opportunities for personal growth and neighborhood revitalization.

Through the Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credit Revitalization Project, the SSJNN will implement a number of project activities related to the following revitalization objectives: neighborhood beautification; community engagement; crime reduction and increased feeling of safety; education and empowerment; job training and economic development and community connectedness and meeting the needs of neighbors.

"The SSJ Neighborhood Network is overwhelmed with gratitude to these local companies who are investing so tangibly in the Erie community, as well as to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, who makes this tax credit program possible," said Heather Caspar, executive director. "In addition to helping us meet the daily needs of individuals, the revitalization goals we can accomplish with these funds will make a lasting, visual impact, creating opportunity for neighbors and neighborhoods right across the heart of Erie. We are excited to partner with so many to accomplish these revitalization goals."

Project activities across all SSJNN-covered neighborhoods:

In the neighborhoods from 14th to 26th streets, stretching west to east from Cranberry Street to East Avenue, project activities will include:

  • Installation of 10 video surveillance cameras in areas that have been designated by the City of Erie Police Department and neighborhood watch groups as hot spots for criminal activity throughout the neighborhoods.
  • An urban farming project that will pair six neighborhood youth, ages 14 to 16, with adult mentors to work in the SSJNN community gardens. The youth will be paid for their work in planting, tending, harvesting, marketing, and selling produce at the SSJNN's weekly farmers market. They will keep a percentage of the proceeds.
  • Opportunities for neighbors to participate in one of five community gardens. The program also includes a dollar-for-dollar match for customers using supplemental nutritional assistance program allowances (i.e. SNAP, WIC and senior produce vouchers).
  • A Pedal Mettle Earn-a-Bike Program that awards bicycles to youth who complete a mentor-guided 12-hour bike maintenance and repair and safety training class.
  • An interactive design competition to create and install one urban art bus shelter that includes green technology on 18th and State Street.
  • A career awareness and readiness program for students in grades K to 5 at McKinley Elementary and eighth graders at Wilson Middle School, including a rotation of 16 different work environments.

Project activities concentrated in Erie's Historic Little Italy neighborhood

Over a period of six years, Historic Little Italy, which runs from West 14th to 18th streets and from Liberty to Sassafras Street, will see the following changes:

  • The purchase and removal of one blighted property per year, with a greenspace to be created in its place.
  • The purchase and renovation of one property annually for use in the Genesis homeownership development program, which aids families with an affordable residence, while preparing them to meet the requirements for eventual home ownership.
  • Ten facade improvements each year.
  • At least four community clean-up efforts annually.
  • Three community engagement events each year.
  • One urban art mural or installation annually.

For more information on the SSJNN's volunteer and donor opportunities, please call 814-454-7814 or visit the SSJNN website.

See all 2017 Press Releases

Contact us for more information or to arrange an interview:

Monica Lewis
Highmark Health
814-323-4767
molewis@svhs.org

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Highmark Health, a Pittsburgh, PA based enterprise that employs more than 35,000 people nationwide and serves 50 million Americans in all 50 states, is the third largest integrated health care delivery and financing system in the nation. Highmark Health is the parent company of Highmark Inc., Allegheny Health Network, and HM Health Solutions. Highmark Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates provide health insurance to 5.2 million members in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware as well as dental insurance, vision care, and related health products through a national network of diversified businesses that include United Concordia Companies, HM Insurance Group, Davis Vision, and Visionworks. Allegheny Health Network is the parent company of an integrated delivery network that includes eight hospitals, a community-based network of physician organizations, and a group purchasing organization, ambulatory surgery centers, and health, and wellness pavilions in western Pennsylvania. HM Health Solutions focuses on meeting the information technology platform and other business needs of the Highmark Health enterprise as well as unaffiliated health insurance plans by providing proven business processes, expert knowledge, and integrated cloud-based platforms. To learn more, please visit www.highmarkhealth.org.

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