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.
Sun Apr 27 2014 - 12 - 5:00 PM
Center for Technology & Innovation 321 Water St
Celebrate Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day. Pinhole Camera Workshop 12 - 5 pm. Celebrating Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day www.pinholeday.org Join in the photo fun on Sunday afternoon, April 27th, at TechWorks! Prototype Workshop, 321 Water Street in downtown Binghamton, one block north of Clinton Street and the Doubletree Hilton Hotel. 3-5PM Make a camera, take a picture, develop an image for the online gallery of Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, with Tara Monaco, SUNY Broome 1:30 -2:30 TechTalks and Pinhole videos by Marcia Blackburn, SUNY Broome and Tomonari Nishikawa, BU-Cinema Dept. All afternoon - Step inside our giant camera to see the world on Water Street from a new point of view. Explore exhibits of Pinhole Photography by Zeb Andrews, seen on WSKG Artists Cafe, photography by Ansco veterans, Ansco cameras, and glass plate negatives recently discovered at Binghamton's historic Asylum. $5 admission, includes pinhole camera materials Questions - email email@example.com or call 607-723-8600
(photo credit: Marian Roth, Provincetown)
The Happiness Project posts vintage photographs on abandoned buildings in Binghamton and there is now a new edition. Susan, a local artist, found photos of her father as a boy and the two new posters will appear around town. This one is on Lewis St. Can you find it?
New Exhibit Opens at Cooperative Gallery 213
May2nd, First Friday, the Cooperative Gallery 213 will open an exhibit by Peg Nocciolino, Works on Paper: Traditional to Digital and Jeanne Van Buren, Abstractions. Nocciolino’s work documents her experimentation in fine art and illustration using traditional and digital mediums. Van Buren is an award-winning photographer and painter of abstracts. The exhibit, which runs May 2 through Saturday, May 31 includes drawings, paintings, monotypes, digital and mixed media works by both artists. A reception, open to the public, will be held at the gallery on Sunday, May 4, 3-5 pm. The Cooperative Gallery, located at 213 State Street in Binghamton, is open on Fridays from 3 pm -6 pm and Saturdays from 12 pm -4 pm. The Cooperative Gallery is a popular stop on the Art Walk and is open 3 pm to 9 pm First Fridays. For more information, see the Cooperative Gallery website, www.cooperativegallery.com.
Opening Reception: Sunday, May 4, 3-5 pm
Third Thursday, May 15th, 7-9 pm. An informal discussion and presentation of Peg Nocciolino’s work and process.
Fri May 02 2014 - 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
BROOME COUNTY ARTS COUNCIL, 81 State Street, 5th Floor, Stephens Square Bldg, Binghamton
BROOME ART 3-D: SCULPTURE OUTDOORS an early First Friday presentation of research by Binghamton University art history students about 14 often mysteriously unidentified public sculptures with major artistic and historic significance. Artists revealed! Back stories told! Questions answered!
The Dept of Public Art (DPA), Citizen Action of New York, and other groups helped spread the word when the Public Art Advisory Board (then called the Public Art Commssion) was up for review at City Council Public Hearings in late December of 2013, and over 100 City residents expressed their support in under 1 week.
There were still Multiple Hearings about the board and a name change, but finally the Public Art Advisory Board / Commission was passed unanimously in Binghamton City Council on March 5th, 2014. The City of Binghamton is now officially accepting applications of people who are interested in serving on the Public Art Advisory Board! See the below press advisory for more detail. (click read more)
There is amazing work happening locally to retrofit homes and a brand new group organizing to help homeowners install solar systems. The Southern Tier is becoming a model of what a significantly more sustainable economy can look like. These renewable efforts also are an important piece of our continuing to beat back fracking here in NY.
But before I pitch these programs, I strongly encourage folks to keep your eyes peeled for emails regarding a visit from Governor Cuomo. It is likely that he comes to town within the next couple of weeks, to tout his 4th on time budget. In the mean time, we will continue to keep the pressure high and fight the proposed infrastructure that is invading our communities.