Gannon contributes $500,000 to Erie

Gannon University announced it was contributing $500,000 to the city of Erie at a press conference held Tuesday.

The contribution, announced by Gannon President Keith Taylor, Ph.D., will be used toward public safety initiatives in the city.

The Erie Times-News published an article Oct. 22, presenting concerns regarding Gannon’s campus expansion and the effects it will have on Erie’s residents. The article said that because Gannon is a nonprofit institution, all its buildings – current and new – are tax-exempt.

Erie Mayor Joseph Sinnott said one of the most troublesome issues facing the cities all across Pennsylvania is nonprofits within city boundaries.

“But when we started this administration, we decided the best way to approach that was to create as many community partnerships as we can for positive impact all the way across the board.”

Alex Bohman, a junior advertising communication student, views the two entities separately and collaboratively.

“Gannon is a huge part of the downtown community, not only in amount of space or number of employees and students it houses, but also due to the impact they have on the area,” she said. “Downtown Erie has come a long way and is continuing to grow.

“The growth of the city and Gannon are intertwined, so it’s important that they are able to work together to better the community.”

The new award follows a previous $250,000 donated to the city to purchase vehicles and equipment for the Erie Bureau of Fire and the Erie Police Department. According to a July 2010 Erie Times-News article, three installments were made to the city beginning with $85,000 in 2010, $85,000 in 2011 and $80,000 in 2012.

The current $500,000 contribution doubles the previously paid and expired donation. It also will be distributed in increments over the next five years.

Taylor was joined by Sinnott, Erie Fire Department Chief, Tony Pol, and Chief of Police, Randy Bowers, who have been meeting for months prior to the press conference.

“Mayor Sinnot and I have been working together for the last few years, and continue to strengthen that partnership and help move both Gannon forward as well as the City of Erie forward,” Taylor said.

“We are here to acknowledge our responsibility and our role as a central player in downtownErie, our role as a Catholic university and our role as an academic and a business leader to help sustain the Erie City.”

Students also recognize Gannon’s role in downtown Erie.

Cristianne Johnson, a senior journalism communication student, said the donation helps the school’s standing in the downtown area.

“Giving back to the community where our school is located also benefits our school, especially because the focus is safety,” she said. “I think that this will make students and residents of Erie feel safer.”

Among some of campus’ properties are the Erie Technology Incubator and the Small Business and Development Center, which focus on supporting, stabilizing and educating local businesses in an effort to help them prosper.

Another expansion project Gannon has undertaken is the current construction of its Carneval Athletic Pavilion– one of the largest downtown projects.

“It’s a balance of having an entity like a university in your town because what they give back to the community is so great,” Sinnott said. “The lighting project was a great project for this area, it made it much more safe and living-friendly.”

The university reinstated its support for the City of Erie through the $500,000 contribution, and enforced a section of its mission statement, “Gannon is a Catholic, Diocesan university dedicated to excellence in teaching, scholarship and service,” specifically emphasizing its duty to service.



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