This is the 4th in a series on the comprehensive plan created by Blueprint Binghamton.
In the last installments we talked about Brownfield Opportunities Areas (BOA's) and the possibility of creating an industrial protection zone for areas along the Brandywine Highway that could be used for freight and as a transportation hub.
Now we want to focus on some smaller, but significant business opportunities. In fact, had we been supporting smaller businesses all along, our economy may well have been stronger.
One idea is to use vacant storefronts as temporary "pop-up" stores and art galleries. (see picture) This is an idea that was pursued by the Downtown Commission, and only one landlord agreed to have a gallery space in his window. It was a beautiful display on Court St. for a year or more, and is now the new home of Chroma, the delicious bakery everyone is talking about. We have plenty of vacant store fronts and until they can be utilized, it makes sense to encourage artists and creative people and improve the appearance of commercial areas.
Another initiative is the Buy Local Campaign. Locally owned businesses recycle 52% of total revenue into the local economy as opposed to large chains which recycle only 15-16%. Local businesses are also responsible for job creation and a more diverse economy. Similarly, the Blueprint applauds the city's 27 point plan to streamline small business entrepreneurship.
Democracy Matters (DM) is a student organization that partners with Citizen Action. They are looking for undergraduates to apply for their paid internship in "On-campus Organizing for Reform." The internship goes from September to May of next year, and involves educating their campus and mobilizing them for reform. If you know undergraduates at any college or university please pass this message on to them and encourage them to apply. (See attached PDF)
Joan D. Mandle, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Democracy Matters
Associate Professor of Sociology, Colgate University
Citizen Action New York, Special Projects
PO Box 157 Hamilton NY 13346
315 82four 4306; 315 725 4two11
(posted from http://www.savethesoutherntier.org/southern-tier-responds-to-rob-astorin...)
On behalf of the Save The Southern Tier network, Isaac Silberman-Gorn released the following statement:
“Did Rob Astorino mean to be in Texas today, or was he just in the Southern Tier on their behalf? Astorino got one thing right in his quick opportunistic trip – fracking in NY would make our Southern Tier the “Dallas of New York” complete with out-of-state workers, Lone Star State oil and gas companies and rampant air pollution. Not even a week ago, the American Lung Association reported that Dallas has the 8th worst air quality in the country. Astorino should stop touting jobs for Texans and the toxic air that comes with fracking.”
“While he seems to have plenty of time on behalf of Texans, Mr. Astorino still has not taken the time to respond to our scientifically-based letter. We hope he will do so.” (letter can be found here: http://www.savethesoutherntier.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/STST-Lette...)
By the Editorial Staff of "The People's Press" (http://thepeoplespress.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/naming-rights-for-the-de...)
County Executive Debbie Preston informed the editorial staff of the People’s Press that the naming rights for the Broome County Department of Social Services building would soon be awarded to a consortium of large corporations doing business in this county. (It was recently announced by Ms. Preston that the naming rights for the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena was awarded to the Maines Corporation in honor of their founding father and veteran, Floyd Maines.)
The businesses given naming rights to the DSS building include Wal-Mart, Mc Donald’s, Burger King, Boscov’s, Kmart, and others that Preston will name at a later date. These companies jumped at the opportunity because they wanted to acknowledge the public financial support given to their employees and their families. This public support, provided by DSS, for the employees comes in the form of financial aid, food stamps, heating fuel assistance and many other programs that allow the workers to live while performing the work assigned by the corporations. Without this public assistance the corporations would have to pay a living wage and report less profit to their owners and stockholders.
BINGHAMTON, NY - Today, the Binghamton City Council Democratic Majority released the following statement expressing their disappointment regarding Mayor Richard David’s recent appointment of Binghamton Lawyer Robert Murphy to be the new Director of Economic Development:
Robert Murphy's track record or lack thereof, with economic development will lead the City of Binghamton toward a path of economic un-development. By appointing a lawyer with no economic development experience, and a Broome County Republican Party insider, it is clear Mayor David would rather play republican favoritism than create jobs and economic development opportunities for the residents of the city.
There is nothing in Mr. Murphy’s resume that qualifies him for the position, which is of key importance to the city. However, of greater concern are chapters in Mr. Murphy’s history in which he actively worked against the best interest of our residents.
In 2008, the City had secured a vendor for the construction of a grocery store in the Binghamton Plaza on the City’s North Side. Mr. Murphy, working as the attorney for the Binghamton plaza owners, stonewalled the project delaying this much-needed resource for North Side residents. Then, during the following Mayoral race, Mr. Murphy played politics with the grocery store once again by announcing a politically convenient agreement to favor the election effort of now Mayor Richard David.
Another troubling episode happened in 2008
Binghamton Live on the Waterfront have announced 4 dates for celebrations on Peacemaker Stage in Downtown Court St. Bridge (near RiverRead). The waterfront music and art series begins June 6th, then repeats August 1st, August 22nd and September 12th.
Download flyer for bands, eats, art...
Democratic Legislators Jason Garnar and Colleen McCabe, in partnership with local officials and community groups, are each hosting district meetings to talk with constituents about the pressing challenge of blighted properties, and to share information about new funding and a civic reporting tool that could help local and county officials wage a more aggressive fight against blight.
The third in a Bridge series on the Blueprint Binghamton draft of the comprehensive plan. The first mini-plan in the draft Comprehensive Plan is about economic development, which is what more community members said was the most important issue---jobs, jobs, jobs! One of the things that the consultants to the Blueprint were able to do is look at what opportunities exist for Binghamton.
One is location--we are the intersection of three major interstates and three freight railways. Along that intersection, there is an area called "Brownfield Opportunity Area" or "BOA." Brownfields are industrial lands that have been polluted and are eligible for development. This land along the Brandywine Highway could be the source for job growth. Creating an "Industrial Protection Zone" would gradually encourage the area as industrial with no patches of commercial or residential in between.
Another recommendation that will resonate on First Fridays is: Utilize the arts and heritage tourism to help spur economic development. Yes, let's make Binghamton a destination for arts and culture more than on the first Friday of the month. Another point is to leverage local institutions like universities and hospitals for local jobs that service these institutions or pop up as a result of their activities.
You can read the Economic Development mini-plan here and be sure to take the survey after each mini-plan. Also visit the Blueprint Binghamton Facebook page.
This is the second in a series of articles on Blueprint Binghamton, the comprehensive plan for the next 10 years. The report which is divided into many chapters, gives a snapshot of who lives here and what challenges we face. First of all, we have lost 41% of our population from 1950 to 2010-- 80,674 to 47,376. The good news is that we seem to have stabilized our numbers.
There are more non-family households 52.8%, and only 26.9% of those are traditional with a husband and wife, and our family size is 2.18 persons. The population is 77.6% white, and 11.4% African-American, 4.2% Asian, and 4.4% two or more races. Our median age is 35.8 years, with 15.5% seniors, and 20.1% under 18.
And here's a shocker: the median household income is $30,179; the poverty level is 31.2%, even as the unemployment rate is 7.1%. The median income in Broome Co is $45,856 and in NYS is $57,683. 83.6% are high school graduates and 23.5% have a Bachelor's degree.
Of the nearly 24,000 housing units 11% are vacant, and 57% are rentals.
Given some of these challenges, citizen feedback has been remarkably hopeful. What people collectively have said they want for the future in Binghamton is a city that is thriving, healthy, alive, resilient and sustainable, and proud.
To read this section or any of the 7 mini plan chapters download it from the Blueprint Binghamton site. There is a survey attached to each mini-plan for citizen feedback and there are a series of public meetings to comment. see below.
Remember those great pop-up Blueprint Binghamton open houses where ordinary folks got to give input into the 10 year plan for Binghamton? Thousands of people who live, work, and play in Binghamton have given input into the plan and now it's time to review the draft plan, give feedback and talk to your councilperson and Mayor David about the plan.
The Plan is a just that, a plan for the next 10 years in Binghamton that describes suggested policies and actions to guide the City to be, what its residents have envisioned and commented upon over the past months/years. The Plan is a state mandated document and a Plan has to be adopted by Council and Mayor David to be in compliance. Several federal and other grants require a Plan to be in place, so it is an important moment in Binghamton's history.
Outside consultants were hired using a HUD grant to gather data, facilitate extensive and creative community outreach and research best practices from other communities. The City of Binghamton’s Planning, Housing and Community Development Department supported the consultants and provided grass roots outreach on a local basis and coordinated with the consultant’s to assist in assuring that the local feel of Binghamton is also represented. The steering committee, 32 members, met regularly with the consultants and City Planners to give input on the plan progress and a local outside review of the Plan’s basis and substance. All of this work has resulted in a truly community driven Plan.
"Blueprint Binghamton had an unprecedented amount of community involvement," said Peg Johnston. "This is not just a plan that gets put on the shelf. It is very readable and sets out some common sense design guidelines for future development, planning, and future legislation." The plan can be downloaded from the Blueprint Binghamton site in several documents and includes 7 "mini-plans" on economic development, housing, transportation, land use, infrastructure, environment, and community building. There is a survey for community feedback after each mini-plan.
It is critical for people to be involved in a series of hearings; people may speak at any of the hearings, or submit a written statement. Or, contact Mayor David or your Councilperson. The meetings are as follows:
* May 5 Planning Commission Public Hearing--The Planning Commission will host a public hearing at which members of the public are invited to offer comments on the draft update of the Comprehensive Plan.
*May 7 City Council Public Hearing 1 City Council will host its first public hearing at which the public can offer comments on the draft update of the Comprehensive Plan.
*May 12 Joint City Council & Planning Commission Session 1 A work session with the consultant team to discuss the Draft of Blueprint Binghamton.
*May 14 Joint City Council & Planning Commission Session 2 A work session with the consultant team to discuss the Drafts of Blueprint Binghamton and the Main/Court Street Corridor Plan.
*June 18 City Council Public Hearing 2 City Council will host a second public hearing at which the public can offer comments on the revised draft of the Comprehensive Plan.
For more information, contact Melissa Enoch at the City 607-772-7028 x156 or mlenoch@ cityofbinghamton.com.
Written by Peg Johnston, with credit to Jeff Smith, both Steering Committee members.