From the Office of the Mayor:
The City announced today the launch of an 18-month effort to engage the community in creating a long-term vision and action plan for the city, the first update to the City’s Comprehensive Plan in more than ten years.
Called “Blueprint Binghamton: Forward Together,” the ambitious project will launch this Friday, March 1, from 3:00 – 9:00pm with a grand opening of a dedicated project design studio in downtown Binghamton, at the former First National Bank (49 Court Street).
“Blueprint Binghamton is an exciting opportunity to build on all the transformative changes we’ve made the last seven years,” said Mayor Ryan. “This is about bringing everybody to the table, and based on their input and hopes, charting a bold, long-term vision and action plan for our shared future.”
In October 2011, Binghamton was one of only 27 cities nationwide to win a major grant award, nearly $500,000, from U.S. HUD’s very competitive federal program, Partnership for Sustainable Communities.
“There were hundreds of applicants to this competitive, national grant program, and what earned the city distinction was our success over the last five years in engaging so many partners to help build a more livable, healthier community,” said Tarik Abdelazim, Director of Planning, Housing and Community Development. “Our commitment to sustainability, collaboration and inclusiveness has always been at the core of our work, and that is true for this initiative as well. The open house launch will give residents a glimpse of how exciting this project is going to be, and how important it is that they actively drive this process with their input, imagination and actions.”
City officials were joined at today's press conference by representatives of the Gorgeous Washington Street Association, “Blueprint Binghamton” Steering Committee members, community partners, and local artists to announce details of other activities that are planned as part of this Open House event, and to complement the 18-month community-engagement effort:
Design A Banner Contest – GWSA and the City partnered to sponsor a contest for new designs for the 20’ by 30’ banner “Big Art in a Little City” that currently hangs on the south wall of City Hall. The submissions will be featured at the open house, and those attending can vote for the winner!
Art Exhibit, “There’s a Fine Line…” by QuarterYellow Studios – The project design studio will also feature a group exhibition by QuarterYellow Studios, a collective of local artists.
Blueprint Binghamton: Community Discussions – In partnership with the Livable Communities Alliance, the NYS Office of Smart Growth, and Empire State Futures (the state’s only statewide smart growth advocacy and educational organization), the City will host monthly roundtable discussions on key topics that can focus our dialogue, and shape our long-term plan. Thanks to a sponsorship from Citizens Bank, the series is free and open to the public, and will touch on issues like green infrastructure, historic preservation, and brownfield redevelopment. The first lunch program will be March 7 at Broome County Library, and more details about the entire series are provided in the accompanying document.
The project design studio at the former First National Bank and Tiffany’s restaurant is being generously offered free of charge by the owner, and was arranged with the help of John Current from Pyramid Brokerage. Throughout the project, the city will use the dedicated design studio as a way to solicit input and ideas from citizens, share project updates and progress, and host interactive and educational activities related to this community engagement effort.
The HUD award will cover the costs of the consulting team, which is led by award-winning planning and design firm Interface Studio and includes local firms, such as Shumaker Engineering and Vibrant Creative.
To follow the project and provide input and ideas, interested residents can either visit the project website (www.blueprintbinghamton.com) or like the project’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/blueprintbinghamton
For more background information on the grant award and project scope, please see the city's October 2011 news release (http://www.cityofbinghamton.com/viewarticle.asp?a=3698
For more information, please contact:
Tarik Abdelazim, Director of Planning, Housing and Community Development
Caroline Quidort, Chief Planner and Project Manager