Commission on Downtown Binghamton Development Issues Final Report
Economic Development Incentives Guide is first achievement to spring from commission’s work
BINGHAMTON, NY—The Commission on Downtown Binghamton Development today issued its final report and unveiled the Economic Development Incentive Guide, which emerged from the Commission’s work.
“This report offers promising guideposts for building on downtown’s recent gains,” said Mayor Matt Ryan. “This commission involved development experts and stakeholders from across our community, and their collective expertise surely is greater than the sum of its parts. I thank the commission members for their hard work for more than a year, and I look forward to taking the next steps in seizing downtown’s many development opportunities, starting with the Economic Development Incentive Guide.”
Announced by Mayor Ryan in his 2011 State of the City Address, the Commission on Downtown Binghamton Development sought to coordinate new investments and interest in downtown business, living and recreation. The spark behind the commission was the grand openings of two major student housing projects, Twin River Commons and 20 Hawley Street Luxury Student Apartments.
“This initiative was part of staying proactive in enhancing downtown as a destination,” said Director of Economic Development Merry Harris, who co-chaired the commission with Sean Massey. “The final report showcases a number of priorities that downtown stakeholders can pursue.”
To address the diverse economic development needs of the downtown district, the commission established several committees, including Population Mix and Diversity, Visual Enhancement, Marketing, Financial Incentives and Jobs/Data. The committees then collaborated with Binghamton University researchers and their students.
· Commission member and Professor Pamela Mischen and her student interns have developed an application to map development data.
· Professor Kalpesh Desai and an undergraduate class in Strategic Brand Management assisted with a downtown branding study. The initial findings were presented in May and a follow-up survey took place in November. The study’s final results will be presented in the next month, and Professor Desai will continue working with the City to test the effectiveness of implementing them.
· With thanks to Commission member and Newman Development Group Vice President Jeff Smetana, Professor Tom Sinclair and a Masters in Public Administration class studied Binghamton’s development incentive options and compared them to those of other municipalities. The class also developed the local incentives guide, which is now on the City’s website.
The Economic Development Incentive Guide highlights financial and administrative incentives for development including commercial, retail, industrial and green initiatives.
Sinclair said, “The student team that worked with the Commission on Downtown Binghamton Development got first-hand experience in seeing how private sector leaders, government officials and their own knowledge and skills can come together to help solve community problems. They gave many extra hours to the project, even after the semester was over, because their work made a difference.”
Commission member Marie McKenna, co-owner of the Lost Dog Café, said, “The Downtown Binghamton Development commissioners made great progress during the several months that we met. The ideas and information the various committees gathered will be invaluable for implementing crucial improvements to downtown.”
Commission member Peg Johnston, curator of the Cooperative Gallery 213 said: “Mayor Ryan and the City of Binghamton are to be commended for assembling an enthusiastic group of citizens who brought their skills, resources, and connections to make a plan for a vital downtown that includes business, the arts, and unique residences.”
Broome County Legislator Dan J. Reynolds, who was a member of Sinclair’s class, said, “Working with representatives from the City of Binghamton, the University and the business community provided a great opportunity for us to gain practical experience on economic development issues, while helping the local community. There’s a lot of opportunity for economic growth in the City of Binghamton and we’re glad we had the opportunity to contribute to the City’s future success.”
Commission member Jeff Smith, partner at Chianis + Anderson Architects, said, “I want to thank the administration, co-chairs and fellow commissioners for partaking in this proactive endeavor. The information shared and gathered will further strengthen downtown and our entire community. If Greater Binghamton is to continue to grow, we must cultivate the center of the community: our city, Binghamton.”
· Click here for the final report by the Commission on Downtown Binghamton Development.
· Click here for the commission’s dedicated webpage.