Partnership in the News: Blueprint Binghamton launches community planning efforts

A local Binghamton resident’s idea for community improvement. Photo courtesty Blueprint Binghamton

Over the past 60 years, the city of Binghamton, New York gradually lost residents due to a shrinking industrial economy, eventually falling to about half its population from 1950. Unemployment rates above the national average and education and income levels below national averages present Binghamton with many challenges. However, a comprehensive plan for the region, supported by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is an opportunity to build upon Binghamton’s valuable community assets and existing infrastructure.

“It’s about us opening the doors and going out to the neighborhoods and finding out exactly what residents want to see for the children and grandchildren.” – Mayor Matthew T. Ryan, Binghamton, NY

Blueprint Binghamton aims to improve the quality of life for area residents while expanding opportunities for local businesses. The plan will build upon the city’s educational assets, promote a growing artistic community while diversifying the local economy. Additionally, Blueprint Binghamton hopes to improve the area’s local transportation infrastructure. Binghamton, New York is looking to build on its communities’ positive initiatives while preparing for a vibrant, successful future thanks to a HUD Community Challenge Grant the city received in 2011. Blueprint Binghamton will create a new comprehensive plan addressing the area’s land use, infrastructure and economic decisions. The City of Binghamton views the project as a common effort between itself and its residents to create a framework for “re-investing in Binghamton.”

A launch event was held on March 1st in the project’s new headquarters, the former First National Bank building. The evening brought Binghamton residents together to share and discuss their hopes and visions for the city’s future. One local resident interviewed at launch party, “If they have a proud in where they live and what can be accomplished in where they live, then that Binghamton pride will blossom.” The event coincided with Binghamton’s First Friday Art Walk. Begun in 2004, the evening showcases local talent while providing residents a venue to explore the arts culture of their city. Mayor Matthew T. Ryan spoke of the importance of Blueprint Binghamton’s launch event,

“It really is going to allow our citizens to participate in the planning of Binghamton’s future.”

HUD Community Challenge grants foster reform and reduce barriers to achieving affordable, economically vital, and sustainable communities. The program is a part of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a collaboration between HUD, the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).