Under the Hat: Mixed Use - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Under the Hat: Mixed Use

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It was always something of an irony when the community decided to give the Port Authority control of much of city's bayfront, arguably some of the most valuable and developable land going.

A single entity was given control so that there would be some oversight in place to keep the bayfront from being developed in a haphazard manner.

The irony comes in when we asked about the strategy of that comprehensive plan.

"It's a mixed use plan," we were always told.

"You mean we're developing different pieces for different uses under one plan so that we don't develop different pieces for different uses?"

"Something like that" we were told.

So over the years we watched, as grain elevators came down and a library went up, as the remnants of Erie's industrial port like sand and gravel docks and Erie Coke slid east and townhouses and boat clubs took hold in the west.

Sure, there are a few places like the Sloppy Duck, Smuggler's Wharf and the Cove, but those pale in comparison to some of the visions I've seen over the years.

Ideas for nautical villages with trolleys, major sports and bar complexes on both sides of Dobbin's Landing have come and gone over the years.

Oh, how the dreamers have dreamed.

Those memories came to mind, and a smile must surely have crossed my face then as I heard the latest plan: what to do with the chunk of waterfront property made available following the loss of the GAF plant next to Erie's Convention Center.

This plan calls for townhouses and apartments, a marketplace and small hotel, retail with overhead parking, and even a park with walking trails.

In other words: Mixed use.

At 23 acres, there's more than enough space to try to make a lot of people happy.

Keep some of it private, make some of it public.

Try to create an area that can be a driver to get tourism dollars off the peninsula and into the city.

There's a lot riding on this.

Let's hope they find the right mix.

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