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ERIE, PA-Gov. Ed Rendell has provided an aggregate of $17 million in grants from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program to fund five projects here. The largest portion of the funding, $6.5 million, will help complete the $100-million Erie County Convention Center, which calls for a 135,000-sf exhibition facility, a 200-room hotel and a 300-vehicle parking facility along the Downtown bayfront.

Another $4 million in RACP funds have been awarded for development of the Erie Technology Incubator at Gannon University. This is a joint project between the university and the Greater Erie Industrial Development Corp. designed to house high-tech startup companies.

The Erie Municipal Airport Authority and Erie Shipbuilding LLC each received $2.5 million. The airport authority plans to convert two former airplane hangers into a 40,000-sf international trade center to handle air, rail and ground cargo distribution. The shipbuilding firm is expanding operations at the former Litton Industries’ shipyard and dry dock in order to expand its fleet by five to six new vessels within five years.

Another $1.5 million supports a $9-million expansion of the Erie Art Museum. The project calls for linking the Old Custom House and the Museum Annex along State Street to create a new major gallery, several smaller ones and public meeting spaces.

This latest round of state funding comes on top of more than $190 million granted to Erie County within the past four years. The projects, according to a statement by the governor, will produce jobs and “bring people back to Downtown Erie.”

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