Blessing of the Land

The Joyce A. Savocchio Opportunity Zone was the site for a Multi-Faith Blessing of the Land on April 4th. East side Erie residents gathered in the Joyce A. Savocchio Business Park. Benedictine Sisters were among those who joined the crowd to celebrate the purchase of the property from bankruptcy court by Urban Erie Community Development Corporation (UECDC), an affiliate of the Minority Community Investment Coalition (MCIC).

Gary Horton, Director of the UECDC, led the service which included moments of prayer and silence. Former Mayor Joyce A. Savocchio was present. Blessings were carried out by Harvest Family Church, the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Sisters of Mercy and Sisters of St. Joseph. “It was a very touching moment when all gathered joined in singing Let There be Peace on Earth,” said Sister Anne Wambach, prioress. “We are hopeful that this effort to re-energize neighborhoods in the central east side of the city and create jobs by the development of this business park will be successful.”

The business park, named for former Erie mayor Joyce A. Savocchio, who advocated for the development of the industrial park during her 12 years in office (1990-2002), received a big boost with a $40,000 donation in February from LECOM (Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine). This contribution will be used for the initial development of the park. As part of the Opportunity Zone tax incentive program, the hope is to give the business park a green, healthy and equitable development focus. Plans call for a multi-use health and wellness facility, a community solar farm, an urban agricultural system and a small business incubator.

Click on the arrow to view a photo collage of the event. Clicking on individual photos will enlarge them for better viewing.