The Perry Square Alliance, a nonprofit group formed in 2008, honored its former president and founder Gloria Knox during the Party off the Park event.
The event took place at the Erie Art Museum last night. Gloria and her husband, Atty. Wally Knox, were the former owners of the Boothby Inn on West Sixth Street. They sold the inn and took off on an adventure across 28 states in a motor home. That’s a story for another blog.
Gloria said she got the idea to restore the park when guests at Boothby Inn called Perry Square “a scary and dark park.” Gloria and company have revived it. Thanks, Gloria Knox and the Perry Square Alliance. The current president is Jennifer Snow, of the Erie Times-News.
Here’s a bit of history on Perry Square:
- The fountain, originally built in 1929 to commemorates the anniversary of Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb, is one of the many items on the docket for restoration. Knox said there are only three or four in the country — all in small towns.
- Laid out in 1795, and named for Oliver Hazard Perry, the park was designed at the center of Erie at the time and a gateway to the bayfront.
- The city in 2006 commissioned a plan to restore the park with Mayor Joe Sinnott leading the way. Former Congressman Phil English had also established funds for the park’s renewal.
- The alliance was established to assist the city with its plan for the park. The alliance obtained four sponsors for the four outside corners they include Stairways Behavioral Health board members, Gannon University, Kiwanis of Erie and PNC Bank.
- The city and the alliance received grants to restore Perry Square. In the past few years, new lighting illuminated the park with more than 40 decorative lamps. When the alliance got started, only three lights existed in the park.
- The Erie Community Foundation helped install underground sprinklers while Erie Insurance Group plants and maintains all the gardens around the Perry statue at the east end of the park. The statue greets visitors at the East Sixth Street entrance.
- The plan for the park includes an entire layout that will make the park more user friendly as part of architect Jeff Kidder’s design. Brick pillars now establish park entrances with lanterns.