Binghamton looks at 'blueprint' for housing development

By Matt Porter

May 2, 2013 Updated May 2, 2013 at 7:59 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) City officials discussed housing development as part of their Blueprint Binghamton comprehensive plan initiative.

About 50 residents met with city planners Thursday at the Binghamton Public Library to discuss the city's ideas for urban development.

Tarik Abdelazim, director of Housing and Community Development, said it's important to communicate ideas to residents and get them involved.

"Everything that we see in these workshops are going to be critical key strategies that we need to incorporate into our plan," Abdelazim said. "The more people that understand it and buy into that strategy, the better our long term vision is going to be and the more likelihood we are going to succeed as a community."

Right now, the city continues to have few new homes being built, but it has dozens of low-cost properties available for rehabilitation.

Mark Yonaty, president of Greater Binghamton Development, said that Includes vacant office spaces downtown that could be easily transformed into new residential apartments.

"You're buying real estate for a fraction of the cost that it would cost to build a home," Yonaty said. "So you're buying a building 10 cents on the dollar, 20 cents, 30 cents on the dollar, which leaves you that additional budget to put into improvements on the interior of the building."

The panel also discussed moving toward mixed income apartment complexes to encourage more even growth.

Speakers said the traditional method of separating low, middle and upper income apartments has not worked in providing vibrant and economically sound neighborhoods equally.

For more information on all of Blueprint Binghamton's initiatives, visit their website.