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“The Pontiacs” Celebrate Erie’s Baseball History

“The Pontiacs,” a new piece of public art, was presented on Thursday, August 6 at Pontiac Field (Bayview Park, W 2nd St and Cherry St). This exciting new artwork celebrates the history of Pontiac Field, which famously hosted Negro League team members and baseball greats including Sam Jethroe.

Created by artists Tom Ferraro, Ed Grout, and Ron Bayuzick, the piece includes depictions of several players and others who were known to local baseball fans.  The left panel includes Curtis Granderson who played for the Seawolves and went on to play in the major leagues. The right panel shows Benjamin “Moon” Mooney who was a fixture at local games. 

West Bayfront residents Fred Rush Jr. and Johnny Johnson provided valuable input on the history of the players and the importance of the field to Erie. The unveiling included remarks by Mayor Joe Schember, Mr. Rush, Mr. Johnson, and Kim Overton (daughter of Sam Jethroe). Several members of the Pontiacs or their family members also attended.

The work was commissioned by Our West Bayfront and funded by Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority, Erie Arts and Culture, and OWB. Great Lakes Insurance Services assisted with the installation of the piece.

Re-Store W 8th St Update

Re-STORE West 8th Street is breathing new life into West 8th Street’s commercial corridor! With the goal of bringing more neighborhood-oriented businesses to W 8th St, Our West Bayfront (with the support of Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority) is working over a three-year period with property owners and the City of Erie on repairs and enhancements to buildings, making the area more pedestrian-friendly, and security enhancements. So far, five properties on the 300 and 400 blocks of W 8th St have been renovated with repairs anticipated at another 12 properties. Security cameras will be installed at 4 locations.

In addition, Our West Bayfront’s renovation of 404-06 W 8th St is nearing completion! The restoration of this historic building will create three affordable rental units, community/office space for OWB, and a commercial tenant space. The project is funded by a major grant from Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, the Erie Community Foundation, ECGRA, Erie Insurance, and with support from Marquette Savings Bank and the PA Department of Community and Economic Development.

We are looking for your input!

Currently, W 8th St is one-way for vehicles going from Liberty St to State St. Changing W 8th St to two ways could support neighborhood business and slow traffic speeds.

Please fill out a brief survey sharing your thoughts at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WEST8ST or call us at 814 871-7050.

Free Covid-19 Testing

MLK Center | 312 Chestnut Street

Thursday’s | 9:30 AM – 12 PM & 1 PM – 3:30 PM

Testing lasts as long as supplies are available.

Visit www.mlkcentererie.org or call 814-459-2761 for pre-registration.

Sidewalk Parades

Did you see the OWB Sidewalk Parade coming down the street this summer? The OWB partners held two parades in the West Bayfront neighborhoods on July 14 and August 6, 2020 to bring some fun and flair into the neighborhoods. With music provided by Rokkboxx, masks from the Erie County Department of Health distributed by a team of clowns, health information, icy treats and more, the parades were great fun for all!

Many thanks to the dozens of volunteers and partners who came together to pull off these events, and to the United Way of Erie County for generously supporting them.

West BayWalks

When Covid-19 forced the cancellation of West BayFit and many other OWB summer events, the West Bayfront Events Committee got creative! West BayWalks was developed by a small group of committed volunteers and it became an instant success with hundreds of participants walking the West Bayfront neighborhoods over six weeks, learning about the community and seeing neighborhood landmarks with fresh eyes.

West BayWalks includes six self-guided walks, each with a different theme, following 2-3 mile routes around the community. Local experts introduce each walk with a short video, and the weekly route maps include a healthy recipe from the Erie County Department of Public Health. Participants were eligible to win weekly prizes and everyone received a free t shirt.

West BayWalks was made possible thanks to the support from Hamot Health Foundation and many partners including the Erie County Department of Public Health and Gannon University.

All six West BayWalks are availabe online at www.ourwestbayfront.org/walks. Have an idea for a walk? Please share by contacting us at info@ourwestbayfront.org!

Cascade Street

A few new things are happening on Cascade Street!  In July, the new ArtForce Mural at Bayview Tavern at West 4th and Cascade was installed by Tom Ferraro and Ed Grout of the Looking Glass Art Project. Strong Vincent Middle School students worked with Tom and Ed to create this mural, along with a second piece that will be installed later this fall. These works are intended to highlight the route along Cascade Street through the neighborhood to the bluff and the waterfront beyond. They were made possible by Erie Arts and Culture, PA Council on the Arts, and generous donors to OWB on Erie Gives Day 2019. 

Also, check out new benches at Barbara Nitkiewicz Park (Cascade Park) at West 2nd and Cascade Street. While you’re there, stop by one of the West Bayfront’s newest businesses, House of Fades Barbershop, at West 4th and Cascade. 

Erie Gives Day

THANK YOU to the over 80 donors who contributed to OWB on Erie Gives Day! Thanks to you and the Erie Community Foundation, we raised over $12K that will be used for projects in the West Bayfront neighborhoods!