Erie, Local Sports Teams, All Benefit from RACP Award

by Casey Wells, Executive Director

The RACP (Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program) award of $12 million for UPMC Park will have a profound impact on our community by creating and retaining jobs, increasing economic impact and improving the quality of life in our region.

The Erie Otters and Erie SeaWolves are professional sports teams, but also local business in our community.  Each organization has a team of employees that include management, marketing, finance, and operations that help fulfill their respective business plans.

This RACP Grant will ensure that our Otters and SeaWolves remain in Erie for another 10 years. This is especially gratifying since other communities have attempted to “steal” our teams. Losing these teams would not only damage Erie’s psyche, but also hurt our economy.

Communities recognize the value of professional sports and often offer significant incentives to attract teams to their city.  These teams not only invoke civic pride, but also create positive economic impact and improve our quality of life.  Just ask any downtown Erie business what these teams mean to them. They consistently share that the half million visitors who attend games annually are the difference between their success and failure.

Some criticize the use of State funds for ballparks because many other funding needs exist for education, employment, social services, etc.  The State has created funding opportunities through the RACP Grant Process that is separate and distinct from other State programs so we are not competing with education, social services or any other program for these funds.  If Erie did not secure these funds, they would simply be spent in other areas of Pennsylvania.  We deserve to have a portion of our State taxes reinvested in NW Pennsylvania, since we have historically been underfunded when compared to other areas of the Commonwealth.

Erie should be optimistic about the new opportunities ahead.  The completion of our downtown cultural, sports and entertainment district will contribute to our collective success by helping Erie be a great place to live, work and play.

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