Sisters of St. Joseph Neighborhood Network

Elm Street Designation

Sep 21, 2012 | Posted in News and Events

Little Itay Elm Street Designation - Opening Doors for Community Change Secretary

C. Alan Walker, Secretary of the PA Dept of Community & Economic Development annouced at a press conference this Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 that the Sisters of St. Joseph Neighborhood Network was awarded the 1st Elm Street Designation under the Governor’s new Keystone Opportunity Program. On hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony were Scott Whalen, President Saint Vincent Health System; Matthew Good, Grant Administrator HANDS; and Major Joseph Sinnott. Congratulations to Rose Graham and the staff of SSJNN.

What this means to the community?

See Erie Times or

Erie's Little Italy gets Elm Street funding
ByDANA MASSING, Erie Times-News

One blighted property can lead to another and another.

"Fixing up old property and putting it back into use also can be contagious," said C. Alan Walker, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

Walker was in Erie's Little Italy neighborhood on Tuesday to celebrate a revitalization effort there.

The area has received Elm Street status under the state's new Keystone Communities Program. The designation came with $100,000 in grants, half of which will be used for 10 facade improvements between West 15th and West 21st streets from Sassafras to Liberty streets.

"This neighborhood is well on its way to coming back," Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott said at a news conference held in a community garden in the 400 block of West 18th Street.

The Sisters of St. Joseph Neighborhood Network, a nonprofit based at 425 W. 18th St. that does outreach to the community, had sought the Elm Street label for the Little Italy neighborhood.

The Sisters, working with several partners, already offer ministries there that include tutoring and mentoring, a soup kitchen and housing assistance.

Rose Graham, the network's executive director, said several property owners have expressed interest in the facade work, which will be funded through a $50,000 grant. Home or business owners would have to match their individual grants up to $5,000, Graham said.

The other $50,000 grant will be used for program implementation and could include initiatives like a neighborhood cleanup, officials said.

Graham said the Elm Street designation also could provide "a leg up" when other grants are sought for improvements in the neighborhood.

Sinnott said the city's Little Italy is an older historical area that unfortunately fell into disrepair but is a prime place for revitalization.

"This neighborhood is truly the type of neighborhood I think the Elm Street designation was designed for," he said.

Walker said the public-private partnership aims to renovate existing buildings while keeping the identity of neighborhoods.

He said Erie's Little Italy neighborhood is the first to receive Elm Street status under the umbrella of the state's new Keystone Communities Program, which also includes the Main Street program. Walker said Elm Street focuses on neighborhoods while Main Street works with commercial areas.

DANA MASSING can be reached at 870-1729 or by e-mail. Follow her on Twitter at