As much as Gannon University is intertwined with the city of Erie, one could argue that it’s also quite an independent university in the sense that there’s always something to do on campus. We’ve written about this plenty of times in the past, so I’m not here to talk (write?) your ear off about that. Rather, I’d like to point out that it’s easy to get sucked into our relatively small and walkable campus. If you were to travel to Erie’s surrounding landscapes, you’d notice plenty of construction under way right now. This leaves us with one question: will any of these renovations drastically affect the unsuspecting student populous?
The answer, according to my father, is most likely a no. Still, it’s interesting and semi-important to be aware of such surroundings. Many people, including myself missed a Question and Answer session on the West Erie Plaza’s Facebook page that can be found in full here. This is the most amount of information the public has received about the renovations happening there, and this kind of direct contact with those in charge is the perfect line of communication for Erieites to give their suggestions. Here’s some of what we learned from that session:
- The new West Erie Plaza is under local management.
- The new West Erie Plaza intends on providing “free 1G Wi-Fi, Park Areas, Web Apps, EV charging stations, secured bike/pedestrian lanes and dedicated event space to start”
- Despite being held back by non disclosure agreements with future tenants, the new West Erie Plaza called dining options and night life past 6 p.m. “a major focus.” They also mentioned turning down several offers from major chains in favor of what they called “a perfect fit.”
- The new West Erie Plaza has signed several leases with new businesses as well as keeping the current companies, Hertel & Brown, Jimmy John’s, Erie Bank, and Chipotle. They hope to incorporate a “mix of national groups” and are focused on a “healthy and complimentary mix of tenants.”
- While the new West Plaza claims construction may never be “finished,” so to speak, they do say their main Phase Four construction is set to be completed this summer, so the public may look forward to enjoying what the new West Plaza has to offer then!
And so, students returning to Gannon for another semester or year of classes in the fall of 2016 have that to look forward to, should they choose to go for a leisurely ride and enjoy the sites that West 12th Street and Erie have to offer. But that’s not the only place construction is happening; something else is being built even closer to campus.
The Erie Bayfront is within sight of most of Gannon University; many take the time to walk there and enjoy the warm breeze that comes with sitting on the edge of Lake Erie. While there are plenty of restaurants on the Bayfront already on operation, the city of Erie is currently making room for the addition of a large hotel.
Again, this is an addition that is unlikely to affect Gannon students directly, but all of these renovations are bound to affect the city of Erie, and in turn, affect its biggest draws, including universities like ours. You may never find yourself on West 12th Street – in fact, you may not even own a car or have one on campus – but next year, you could be relaxing on the Bayfront when you notice one of the busiest additions to the city in recent memory.