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New role at Greater Binghamton Chamber focuses on placemaking to shape area’s public spaces

By Traci DeLore (


BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — The Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce has created a new position within the Office of Placemaking Initiatives and hired Jim Reyen as its first-ever director of placemaking initiatives.

Placemaking is the participatory process for shaping public spaces that utilizes the ideas and assets of the people who use it. It uses a direct approach to improve areas within a community using physical, cultural, social, and other assets to create opportunities to bring people together. As director of placemaking initiatives, Reyen will support existing initiatives and create new activities to make a more attractive and cohesive community.

“We wanted to create the placemaking office to serve as a catalyst for improving public spaces to create opportunities to gather, connect, and beautify the greater Binghamton area,” Stacy Duncan, CEO of the Leadership Alliance partnership between the chamber and The Agency, said in a press release. “We are looking forward to engaging and inviting the community to become part of the process.”

A lifelong Binghamton resident, Reyen is the founder of the Rec Park Music Fest, now called the Harper Stanz Rec Park Music Fest, which celebrated its 27th year this past summer. Previously, Reyen served as business director for Eureka/Johnson Outdoors before retiring to focus on serving the community.

“The greater Binghamton area has such wonderful people, events, and public spaces, and I am looking forward to focusing my time and energy to strengthen the vibrancy of my hometown,” he said. “We will focus on communicating and promoting positive programs and public spaces to possible transplants and others considering moving to or staying in the area.”

Reyen begins his new role Oct. 10. The Leadership Alliance will host an inaugural creative placemaking workshop with Kady Yellow on Oct. 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event location has not been confirmed yet. Yellow, a Binghamton native, is senior director of placemaking and events for Downtown Vision, Inc., in Jacksonville, Fla.

The chamber created the new position to reflect the changing work environment, the challenge to attract talent, and what people look for when they are relocating.

“People are making decisions on where to live and work based on quality-of-life factors and much less on a specific job opportunity,” said Jon Sarra, chair of the chamber’s board of directors and assistant managing partner at Hinman, Howard and Kattell, LLP. “If we want to retain and attract talent, we need to create vibrant spaces that bring people together.”

Another goal of the office is building strong partnerships with municipal offices to identify community assets and areas to make more open for social gathering. These efforts can also strengthen neighborhoods and increase public safety.

“Greater Binghamton’s vibrant public spaces are a big part of what makes our community such a great place to live, work, and raise a family,” Binghamton Mayor Jared M. Kraham said. “I’m grateful to the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce for creating a dedicated position through the new Office of Placemaking Initiatives to help tap into the full potential of our public spaces and shine a light on our area in a way that attracts young professionals, families, and people of all ages. The city of Binghamton stands by as a ready partner in this important effort.”



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