Is Binghamton's sidewalk of stars no more?

By Kelly McCarthy

February 26, 2014 Updated Feb 26, 2014 at 7:25 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) One of Binghamton's greatest honors for people who have contributed to the art community is a bronze star on the Walk of Fame. But if someone wants to add another star to the sidewalk, can they still do so?

When Barry Blakeslee's good friend Butch Skeene passed away earlier this year, he wanted to memorialize Skeene's musical talents with a star on Binghamton's Walk of Fame.

"Butch Skeene was one of the finest entertainers ever to come from Binghamton, New York," Blakeslee said.

But the response he got from the Walk of Fame Committee was shocking.

"He said the program did not exist any longer," said Blakeslee.

Binghamton's Sidewalk of Stars began 22 years ago with a Hollywood-type star honoring the creator of the "Twilight Zone," Rod Serling.

"I'm perfectly satisfied with the way they are now," said Walk of Fame Committee President Robert Keller, "But as I said, if it were to continue I would not be involved."

Now, 44 stars honor people who contributed to Binghamton's art history. Each star costs $2,100 in donations to have a spot in front of the Metro Center.

"You've got almost $100,000 worth of stars deteriorating out there and nobody wants to take care of them," Blakeslee said.

The president for the Walk of Fame committee said they will not be adding any more stars outside of the Metro Center location.

"So I'm not going to say it's the end of the star walk, but it is as far as I'm concerned," Keller said, "I've been doing it for a long long time and I'm pretty old and pretty worn out right now with it."

But then who's responsibility is it? The property is owned and maintained by the City of Binghamton, but the stars have never been in its control.

"It's really not a city-lead effort, historically it's been a volunteer-coordinated effort," said Binghamton Mayor Rich David, "And if the volunteers are no longer interested in pursuing it, the city certainly wants to make sure that it continues to move forward."

The idea of moving the stars to a new location is something the mayor and county executive are talking over.

"I'd hate to see it turn into an eyesore," Blakeslee said, "Instead of the Walk of Fame it's a walk of shame out there."

Mayor David said if anyone is interested in moving forward with adding a star to Binghamton's Walk of Fame to contact his office.

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