Presque Isle Gateway District Plan
History of the Gateway Plan
In 2016, the Township began the exciting process to develop a Comprehensive Plan – now known as Embrace Millcreek. Over the course of two years, Millcreek residents were encouraged to participate in online surveys and to give their input during open houses, informational meetings, and public hearings. Embrace Millcreek was adopted on August 28, 2018.
One strong current that ran through the public engagement process called for greater investment in the Gateway to Presque Isle State Park. Township residents are proud that Millcreek serves as the access point that welcomes 4 million visitors each year – that’s more than Yellowstone National Park. Our beloved State Park is an important part of Millcreek’s identity and Millcreek serves as an important part of the Presque Isle experience. The call for further investment in the business and tourism district surrounding it was so often repeated and supported by the community that the creation of a Presque Isle Gateway District was one of the five focus areas of the Comprehensive Plan.
Embrace Millcreek included a detailed series of action steps to help implement the goals proposed in each of the five focus areas. One of these action steps was to “Develop a detailed sub-area plan for (the) Presque Isle Gateway.” In March of 2021, Millcreek hired Ingalls Planning and Design (IPD) to work with Township staff and engage with the public to develop this plan.
After holding a series of kickoff meetings and discussions with Ingalls Planning, in June of 2021, the Township publicized a website with a mapping tool prepared by IPD to gather input and ideas from residents on what they’d like to see in the district. The Township encouraged residents to submit their input through an engaging web tool that nearly 300 residents utilized to include their ideas in the planning.
Using the ideas generated from the public, as well as through meetings with Township staff, area stakeholders, and a regional technical advisory committee, the team at IPD prepared concepts for the district. These concepts were shared with an internal project team that included the Board of Supervisors and were revised and refined through several meetings during the fall of 2021.
At the beginning of February of this year, the Township again publicized a website dedicated to the project, this time asking for input on the draft concepts that resulted from the initial survey and team meetings. During this public engagement period, 325 residents actively participated in the planning. A large majority of the feedback encouraged action in areas overdue for investment and improvement. The public comments on draft concepts, as well as final comments from the project team, stakeholders, advisory committee, and staff and presented were all incorporated in the final Presque Isle Gateway District plan, published in May 2022.
The project has already attracted a $3.5 million RACP grant received for improvements to 8th Street and the $1 million demolition funding by the Erie County Land Bank. We continue to leverage the Township’s investment to attract other sources of funding.
The next step is to prepare the site for redevelopment. This process includes requesting qualifications and proposals from developers and beginning design and engineering work. This work will take more than one year, but once we have a developer in place construction can begin and the exciting work of attracting businesses to our modern Presque Isle Gateway District can begin. Throughout the entire process, there will be additional opportunities for public feedback, especially regarding the planning and design of the district.