Changing the future of Broome County

By Jillian Marshall

December 13, 2013 Updated Dec 13, 2013 at 12:42 AM EDT

Town of Chenango, NY (WBNG Binghamton) What should Broome County look like in the next five or 10 years? What should it offer its residents? Those are some of the questions county employees are grappling with in a new county-wide comprehensive plan.

The county's Department of Planning and Economic Development held a meeting Thursday night to review the final draft of the plan with the community.

This is the first update to the comprehensive plan in 50 years. It focuses on resiliency, collaboration, using resources and balancing present and future needs.

The department pulled information from online surveys filled out by local residents.

There are nine different "visions," which focus on improving the county and it's municipalities. Officials said Thursday Broome should become a more inviting place to live, work and play; that it should engage current students to remain local after graduating; improve pride in urban and village centers; invest in local legacy sites; commit to higher standards in building design and renovation and invest in the local workforce.

Chief Planner Frank Evangelisti came up with innovation districts (or iDistricts), which will foster growth in the fields of manufacturing, technology and health care.

He is planning on having three iDistricts: One in Johnson City near Wilson Hospital's campus, which would focus on health care innovations, one in Endicott near the Huron Campus and Endicott Municipal Light District, which would support electronics manufacturing firms.

The city of Binghamton could also see an incubator on Hawley Street that would focus on technology.

"You come up with what you think the community needs and really try to develop an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the downtowns," Evangelisti said.

Members working on Blueprint Binghamton, a comprehensive plan for Binghamton, also attended Thursday's meeting.

"It fits right in with the development pattern downtown," said Director of Building, Construction and Code Enforcement for the city of Binghamton, Thomas Costello. "We think they'll be opportunities to enhance the character of the neighborhood and the population that lives there."

The comprehensive plan will go in front of the Broome County Legislature next Thursday where they will vote to adopt it.

According to Evangelisti, the whole process took about a year to complete.

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