Revitalizing Binghamton's Front Street Gateway

By WBNG News

July 22, 2010 Updated Nov 17, 2009 at 12:15 AM EDT

Binghamton wants to redevelop its Front Street gateway into the city.

And as Action News Reporter Leigh Dana tells us, the city wants to hear from its taxpayers, before moving forward on the project.

"Right now, it's kind of a frightening entrance to the city. That's not what we need. What we need is something that says, 'Welcome to Binghamton," says Kathy Reno of Bnghamton.

And that's just what the city intends to do.

Leaders of the Front Street Gateway Project held this workshop at the Broome County Health Department to get input from neighbors and business owners on a design.

Kathy Reno says revitalization is key for her business, River Front Antiques.

"People who come into my store now who come off the highway, will come in and say 'Geez, this is a lovely little road here, where I live it's called Cottage Road. And you all have wonderful architecture here in Binghamton, but coming in we would have never known that."

The city plans to fix that by reconstructing a stretch of Front Street between Main and Prospect.

There would be upgrades to pavement, sidewalks, bus stops, landscaping, parking and lighting.

"We have some older houses. And they're talking about some period lighting on the street. And I think that could really set the street off," says Jerry Willard with First Ward Action Council.

And while these plans have been in the works for years now, the city says it can only take one step at a time.

"The Front Street reconstruction at East Clinton Street is going to go into construction next year. So we can only do so many projects at once," says City Engineer Philip Krey.

And business owners like Reno will have to wait a little longer for the beautification to kick in.

Construction that was supposed to begin in 2010, is now slated for 2011.

In Binghamton, Leigh Dana, WBNG TV Action News.

The project will cost about $9 million dollars.

80% would be covered by the Federal Highway Administration, and the State Department of Transportation would pay 15%.

The remaining 5% will be paid for by the city.

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