Union City Renaissance

February 27th, 2024

The southeastern Erie County town has been awarded more than $6 million in grants since 2009 to help fund its revitalization, and the borough has been re-inventing itself ever since. Updated parks, home and business facade improvements, additional downtown parking, a downtown mural, and an outdoor "gateway" courtyard have been among the town's revitalization projects.

"People who come home to Union City say that they can't believe the changes," said Union City Borough Manager Cindy Wells. "It's very different than it was even a few years ago."

Updated Union City projects include a new playground and accessible parking area at Southwest Park and the installation of an electronic message sign on North Main Street. New murals, downtown lighting and an events pavilion are expected to be completed this year. LED lights will be strung along the tops of downtown buildings and on trees around the new public parking lot across Main Street from Union City Public Library to illuminate the downtown each evening. A pavilion to be built behind the parking lot will be available for library story times and other public events.

Meetings with students, seniors and the public are intended to reach a multi-generational consensus about what the murals should contain. Community members will be asked for ideas, words, colors, and styles that should be included in the murals. The artists will present their design ideas to community leaders early this year.

The final designs will be painted on fabric for greater longevity and installed on downtown buildings later next year.

Also coming this year will be new sidewalks several streets, a new Willow Street bridge, and accessibility improvements at the City Building, among other projects.

The laundry list of Union City improvements in recent years was made possible by a host of state agencies, foundations and other funding sources. Major grants were from the Erie Community Foundation, Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority, Union City Community Foundation, Erie County Redevelopment Authority, Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, PA DCNR, PennDOT, and Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. There was funding from Union City Borough, Union City Pride, LECOM, Erie Insurance, MFG Corp. of Union City, and Union City Lions and Union City Little League.

“Familiarity with the various funding sources and grant programs has been essential to the town's success in obtaining grants. The borough additionally works with the EADS Group in Clarion to provide the engineering plans required for some grants. Teamwork by community organizations, also is essential.” Wells said.

Source: Myers, Valerie, Erie Times-News, “Union City renaissance: Changes have been 'wonderful' and there are more to come in 2024”, 4:40 am ET Nov 20, 2023|updated 7:55 am ET Nov 20, 2023, GoErie.com.