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VISION for the Future

Since the planning process got underway in Fall 2012, hundreds [more likely thousands] of people who live, work, learn, and play in Binghamton have made time to share their visions for the next ten years in the life of the City and its evolving story. 

Resident experts and people with professional expertise, life-long Binghamtonians and newcomers, college students calling Binghamton home for now and city youth who embody the Binghamton of tomorrow have touched the planning process in myriad ways: through interviews and focus groups, online and door-to-door surveys, in classrooms at elementary, middle, high school, and college levels, at community meetings and community discussions, and at citywide events like the First Fridays Art Walk. Those passionate about this City have shared countless ideas and concerns, hopes and dreams for the future. 

The statement below translates the rich collection of community inputs into a collective vision for our city.

Our plan for moving FORWARD TOGETHER calls for a BLUEPRINT for a BINGHAMTON that is:

THRIVING – with a bustling downtown and home-grown businesses that create local jobs, driven by our spirit of entrepreneurialism coupled with the flexibility afforded by technology and the digital marketplace that allow workers and creative makers to locate where the living is good

RESILIENT & SUSTAINABLE – a city of safe neighborhoods nestled within a beautiful landscape, where greener design renders the City more resilient to changing weather patterns, housing policies preserve neighborhoods for future generations, and local institutions support a continuum of learning and opportunity for all

HEALTHY – with active citizens who take advantage of the city’s walkability and bikeability, proximity to natural assets and recreation along the rivers and among the hills, and access to affordable, fresh, local foods

PROUD – with the authenticity of place fostered by our rich history, empowered by our progress in effecting positive change, and emboldened by the growing sense of possibility, we celebrate and project a renewed self-image 

and most of all

ALIVE – one of a cadre of small cities across America experiencing a resurgence based on quality of life and livability driven by an engaged public and grassroots activism, Binghamton today and tomorrow is a great place in which to raise a family and grow old, a welcoming home to people of all ages, races, ethnicities, and incomes who choose to live here, and more importantly, stay here.

 


PRELIMINARY RECOMMENDATIONS to Make Vision Reality

We’ve developed a series of goals, measureable objectives, and preliminary ideas for policies and actions that will help make the community’s vision a reality in the years to come.  Currently, we are organizing the objectives and ideas that the public has expressed into seven categories:

Economic Development: a plan for a city that prospers

A key concern from those involved in this plan pertains to local jobs and businesses.  The plan will address the need to create jobs (and training) for workers of varied skill and education levels, encourage new jobs at big companies that require big sites, encourage small businesses and start-ups, promote businesses that restore vibrancy downtown, and expand businesses connected with major institutional anchors. Success is in having businesses choose Binghamton due to its business-friendly environment, creative vibe, and high quality of life for employees.

Housing: a plan for those at home in the city

This section of the comprehensive plan will address the needs of homeowners, landlords, renters, policy makers, public agencies, investors, and developers, alike – all people affected by Binghamton’s housing stock and housing market.  Strategies will address challenges in maintaining an aging housing stock, opportunities to diversify housing typologies to bring beautiful buildings back to life and better serve certain market segments, and tactics to preserve affordability and the integrity of neighborhoods.

Environment & Open Space: a plan for preservation and play

This portion of the plan is focused on the City’s sensitive landscapes – flood prone areas and areas of perceived contamination, riparian edges and park spaces – as well as opportunities in daily life for Binghamton’s citizens to contribute to a healthier city, region, and planet by reducing waste output, increasing the urban forest and flora, and strengthening the connection between people and the parks, playgrounds, rivers, and trails, that welcome healthy play so long as they remain clean and safe spaces themselves.

Transportation: a plan for a city that walks, bikes, rides transit… and drives too

The plan for transportation is about how Binghamton moves – more specifically about the multiple ways in which people travel through the City and how the City can better balance its public rights-of-way to serve those traveling on foot, by bicycle, by bus, and by car to get where they need to go for work, for school, and for fun.  The transportation strategies will address the existing network of streets and parking areas, trails and transit services while seeking to add amenities, options, and alternatives to boost safety, convenience, and mobility for multiple modes.

Infrastructure: a plan for where the rivers meet the city

The update to the comprehensive plan must focus on the realities Binghamton faces as a city trisected by rivers.  In addition to strategies that address energy, utilities, and operating costs in an era of budget cuts, this chapter will put forth strategies to address the volume and quality of water flowing downstream which threaten Binghamton’s riverfront and low-lying properties during riverine flood events, stormwater regulations and opportunities for smaller-scale interventions that mitigate flash flood events caused by rainfall, and the relationship between water and urban land use decisions in the future.

Community Building: a plan for neighbors and neighborhoods

The plan for community building stems from the energy and momentum built thus far in the planning process with strategies that seek to harness the community’s interests and ideas with tools that foster actions for change – at the block level, the community level, the neighborhood level.  With ideas that pertain to your backyard, your streetscape, your children, and your health, these quality of life recommendations establish a common ground that will bring each part of the Binghamton community to the implementation table to help make Blueprint Binghamton a reality.

Land Use & Zoning: a plan for the land

One of the most important elements to emerge from a comprehensive planning process is a future land use map – a tool that indicates where existing land uses should be preserved, and where property should be positioned for redevelopment to accommodate a mix of new uses.  The future land use recommendations will inform updates to the City’s zoning code as well as decisions by the Planning Commission and Zoning Board regarding development proposals for properties throughout Binghamton.  With recommendations about housing, commercial, and industrial property, parklands and floodplains, as well as the development and design review processes, this chapter of the plan highlights where Blueprint Binghamton’s recommendations hit the ground.