Erie County Executive’s eighth SOTC reviews county’s response to COVID-19 pandemic, praises work of health care heroes, highlights partnerships that delivered relief for families & local business community
V Wide-ranging address includes update on investments in county infrastructure and parks, development at former Bethlehem Steel site, addressing racial inequities
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz released his 2021 State of the County address, for the first time ever using a videotaped release to highlight Erie County’s multifaceted response to the COVID-19 pandemic and discuss both completed county operations from 2020 and plans for the future. Poloncarz, who did not present a State of the County address in 2020 while Erie County confronted the pandemic, devoted much of the 2021 address to praising the lifesaving work of local health care heroes throughout the public health crisis.
“Erie County has endured a very difficult time since I last delivered a State of the County address in 2019, and as we are recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic it’s necessary to reflect on what we’ve been through, how we faced the challenge, and what we learned,” Poloncarz said. “This address recounts Erie County’s response to the pandemic, honors the health care and public health heroes who worked tirelessly throughout it, and brings perspective to the numerous actions we took to guide our community through. In addition to our robust pandemic response, the 2021 State of the County address takes note of numerous infrastructure improvements completed in 2020 as well as advances in other county programs and initiatives, and also previews future projects. We are moving forward and, with millions of dollars in new investments as part of my administration’s ‘RENEW Plan,’ we are building a better Erie County for the future.”
Among the COVID-19 pandemic response efforts led by Erie County were investments of $40 million in U.S. CARES Act funding in local schools and day care providers, including $14 million for virtual learning support centers; Erie was the only county in New York to offer this support to the community. Additionally, the address notes the success of the “Back to Business” grant program, which invested nearly $20 million in CARES Act funding to provide vital assistance to nearly 1,400 local businesses, the introduction of the “Erie Grown” brand and passport to boost local agriculture, the renaming of the former Bethlehem Steel site as the “Renaissance Commerce Park,” and the upcoming investment of $3.8 million in federal housing funds to assist developers and not-for-profits to construct new affordable housing units countywide.
The 2021 State of the County address can be seen at https://youtu.be/4ii5a-ySzww.