Press Release: Two Professionals to lead January 16 Viaduct Town Hall at J.E.S.

For immediate release: January 5, 2018

ErieCPR President, architect Adam Trott, announced that the Jefferson Educational Society -  Erie’s think tank committed to “civic enlightenment and community progress” - has donated the use of their venue at 3207 State Street for a Viaduct Town Hall on Tuesday, January 16. Trott reported that the event will be moderated by Tom New and Charles McKinney. Trott explained that McKinney, a former NYC planner “will offer an international perspective,” while WQLN’s Tom New will bring “decades of knowledge about our region” to this free, public event. Doors open at 5:30pm, event runs from 6-8pm.

The Viaduct Town Hall is being co-hosted by six community organizations: the African-American Concerned Clergy, Civitas, Erie County United, ErieCPR, Keystone Progress and NAACP Erie. The PennDOT District 1 Manager has declined the invitation to participate and the City Engineer has yet to confirm his participation. Thus, the pro-demolish rationale may be presented using statements provided by PennDOT, the City Engineer and the L.R.Kimball firm (that conducted the 2013 study). The ErieCPR team will present the Repair-and-Polish view.

Tom New

Tom New

Tom New, a graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and Penn State University, has worked in broadcasting for forty years.

New worked as Director of Creative Services for ABC affiliate WJET-TV from 1978 to 1998. Since 1998, he has worked in many capacities at WQLN, Erie, PA’s Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) affiliate; for the past five years he has served as President and CEO.

He was the Executive Producer of eight documentaries produced for the Pennsylvania Public Television Network.

Passionate about Erie, Tom New volunteers to “develop community projects that educate, entertain, and enhance the quality of life in the greater Erie area.”

Charles McKinney earned a Bachelor’s of Architecture from the University of Arkansas and a Masters in Urban Design from City College. As a self-described “practical visionary” McKinney has worked in New York City to “solve longstanding problems” and “envision new futures” that “weave motivated community members” into community planning. McKinney analyzed a Brooklyn community for the Kaplan Fund and made recommendations to change the “sad trajectory leading to the incarceration and poor employment prospects for many young people.”


McKinney serves as co-chair of City as Living Laboratory, the organization founded by artist Mary Miss that pairs artists and scientists to make environmental issues visceral, and generate change. His methods are illuminated in his 2016 TEDx talk “The Embracing City.”

Charles McKinney

Charles McKinney


As the former Principal Urban Designer for NYC Parks, McKinney led the preparation of major park master plans. Under his direction, the Department explored 21st century design imperatives including web based planning tools and communication, as well as the role of planning in creating community. Under his leadership as Chief of Design at New York City Parks, many innovative park buildings and landscapes were created. The award-winning Design Manual for 21st Century Parks was prepared under his direction in collaboration with the Design Trust for Public Space.

As Administrator of Riverside Park from 1984 to 2001, he implemented the master plan he created for the restoration of the 316-acre landmarked park, a 110-slip marina, and Fort Washington Park, 146 acres of woodland, meadow and Hudson River shoreline offering services for 2.5 million visitors per year. McKinney helped form the Riverside Park Fund and worked on the strategic plan that led to fruitful park operations and the collaborative creation of memorials for Eleanor Roosevelt and Ralph Ellison.

Using skills he acquired as a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, McKinney worked with adolescents to design and construct the City’s first skate park. McKinney’s many accomplishments earned him an honorary membership from both the American Institute of Architects and the American Society of Landscape Architects. # # #