Binghamton's Plans To Battle Blight

By Kiersten Mathieu

July 22, 2010 Updated Sep 14, 2006 at 6:57 PM EDT

Irene Whipple is tired of looking at the blight in her Northside neighborhood.

She wants to see the boarded up homes torn down.

"They never been fixed. Nobody cares anymore," says Whipple.

The City of Binghamton says it cares.

It's applied for more than 2 million dollars in state aid to help rehabilitate or demolish and rebuild eyesores over 3 years.

"If our application goes through it will affect over 40 properties in the city of Binghamton and we'll really start to make a difference in our neighborhoods," says Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan.

Half of those properties would be demolished, and half rehabilitated. Three are commercial sites.

On Front Street, the city wants to rehabilitate or demolish several properties.

"They've been vacant for 20 years, 25, 30 years. That's too long, way too long," says John Seamen of Binghamton.

If the city lands the funding for blight removal, then it can offer incentives to developers who may want to rebuild.

Like on the Westside.

The plan calls for tearing down 3 homes on Charlotte street in hopes it will lead to new construction.

"They've been an eyesore for a long time. I would be a lot happier if they did something to this street," says Jeffrey Friends of Binghamton.

Binghamton would also give people displaced by June's flood the first option to buy a new or renovated.

But, all of these ideas are contingent on the city getting the funding from the Restore New York Program.

The city should know by mid-October.

Mayor Ryan says if the city doesn't get the state funding, it will still try to go forward with this proposal one way or another.

City Council will have a required public hearing on the grant application next Monday, September 18th after 6:30 pm.

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