For months now, Binghamton leaders have been gathering residents’ insight on what needs to be done to create a bright future for the city. The effort will ultimately help update Binghamton’s Comprehensive Plan and as our Elyse Mickalonis explains, this week, that initiative hit a milestone.
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Five months ago, officials in Binghamton asked the public what direction they’d like to see their city go and now the public has answered.
"I mean, we were hoping, honestly, for a couple thousand and that was an ambitious goal, so we’ve extremely pleased,” said Tarik Abdelazim, Director of Planning, Housing and Community Development.
On Tuesday, the city announced that over the past five months, more than 4,000 Binghamton residents have taken part in Blueprint Binghamton. The 18 month planning initiative allows citizens to express their views for a healthier and more prosperous city, ideas that will then be used to create a new Comprehensive Plan.
"That document then becomes a legally binding document that drives the policy decision, investments for the next 10 to 15 years,” said Abdelazim.
The effort was made possible by a half-million dollar HUD grant. Binghamton was the only city in the state to receive it. Since giving feedback, residents have voiced concerns about a variety of topics, from litter to lighting.
"It was fix up the homes, bring more street lights, light up our neighborhoods and parks where kids play, bring more youth programs, so that’s the kind of investment we’ve been making and it felt good to see the community appreciate that and wanting that to continue,” said Abdelazim.
Abdelazim says residents not only giving feedback on what they want to see in their city, they were also talking about some of the positives and things that are already benefiting areas such as Downtown Binghamton.
"I think we see a major renaissance in the Downtown area, and actually, that was something that was in the 2003 comprehensive plan,” said Abdelazim. “It shows the value of panning and staying focused on a vision."
Abdelazim says they public’s input will help to build a road map for the city’s future. He hopes to have a draft complete by the end of the year or January.
Abdelazim says the city is going to continue engaging the community about ideas and strategies over the next six months. This Friday they will be going over feedback in the dedicated studio at 49 Court Street.
For more information on Blueprint Binghamton, head to www.BlueprintBinghamton.com.