Young Erie Professionals meets with Schember about city's future - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Young Erie Professionals meets with Schember about city's future

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ERIE, Pa. -

The average Erie resident is 34-years-old, according to the U.S. Census. That's the target age for the Young Erie Professionals, a group of budding entrepreneurs who want to make a difference in their community.

"We're here," said Terry Carson, the community and civic engagement chairman for Young Erie Professionals. "How can we help, how can we transform the city?"

Wednesday, they sat down with Erie Mayor Joe Schember and his administration to help make that change happen.

"It'll be nice to have the young people hear straight from the mouths of the mayor exactly what they're working on," said YEP President Kristi Bailey.

"What Erie is going to be depends a lot on them, what they do, what their decisions are," Schember said. "I'm really anxious to work with them."

That work includes turning Schember's campaign promises into reality: the prospect of more jobs, an improved downtown district, enhanced quality of life, and a better relationship between the police and the public.

"It's an evolving process," said Erie Police Chief Dan Spizarny. "We hope that young professionals are the ones that are going to lead the city (of Erie) in the future."

I had the chance to moderate Wednesday's forum, which was held at Erie Insurance. The setting itself drove part of the conversation; the company is one of several that combined is investing nearly $600 million into Downtown Erie. That investment is leaving many young people asking, how can they get involved to make Erie a better place, in the future.

"We believe that as young people, we have the ability to encourage and energize and excite," said Carson. "We want to break down that wall, to break down that barrier."

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