Print Edition

  Email News Updates

VIEWPOINT: We’re Preparing for the Next Chapter in our Economic Story

By Stacey Duncan


Stacey Duncan

The Greater Binghamton area is at an inflection point. Despite the national and global challenges of recent years, we have seen several important economic metrics moving in the right direction. But have we succeeded in becoming all that we want to be as a community? There are many definitions of success and I’m sure you’ve seen dozens of inspirational quotes about what it is and how to achieve it. Woven into many of these ideas is that preparation is a required ingredient for success. And we here at the Leadership Alliance have made preparations for a vibrant and successful future our most important priority. 

The Leadership Alliance was formed in 2019 as a partnership between The Agency (Broome County IDA / LDC) and the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce, with the goal of leveraging the strengths of each organization to direct transformational and sustainable economic and community development. The marriage of these two entities forms a formidable alliance to support new investment, job opportunities, and to be a powerful voice in defining who we want to be as a community. 

Since 2019, The Agency has leveraged more than $1 billion in new investments in manufacturing and distribution, housing, health care, and clean-energy projects. The Greater Binghamton Chamber has responded by creating programs and initiatives to support diversity, equity, and inclusion, housing, and childcare and to direct talent and leadership programs, so that the financial investment can be matched with human capital. 

I feel the formation of the Leadership Alliance has ushered in a new era of confidence that we are seeing play out throughout the community. We believe it is our responsibility to serve as a positive force that can redirect the tides of negativity and doubt.

We see what happens when we work together and support change. We see cranes going up over the new UHS Wilson Emergency Center and at Oakdale Commons. These two projects combined, support more than
$500 million in new investment in Johnson City, including the construction of the largest Dick’s Sporting Goods House of Sport in the U.S. We see historic and blighted buildings resurrected through the Century Sunrise, Ansco Factory, and more recently, the Victory Lofts project that opened this spring. 

We see the support of U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, who secured the third-largest Economic Development Administration award of $63 million for the New Energy New York program and nearly $1 million to support the expansion of childcare in the Greater Binghamton area.

We’ve also seen Gov. Kathy Hochul support our community with $50 million for New Energy New York (NENY), more than $20 million in downtown-revitalization programs, and successful awards for affordable housing through the office of Homes and Community Renewal. The NENY program will position Greater Binghamton area as the center of energy-storage research and technology in New York state and open new opportunities for manufacturers in the Southern Tier to be part of the energy-storage supply chain. 

We also see flourishing art walks, festivals, and more fans cheering on our Binghamton sports teams. We begin to see our community from the perspective of gains and not losses. And that is the moment our work really begins. 

We cannot continue our momentum to create a vibrant economy without a collaborative eye on the future. That is why the Leadership Alliance, in partnership with our industry, government, and nonprofit partners are preparing a bold plan to define our economy for the next decade and beyond. The pieces of this plan include the following initiatives.

New Development Sites

The right preparation can be a game changer in economic development. Micron, Global Foundries, Plug Power, and Wolfspeed were not overnight successes. They were the result of years of deliberate, patient, and collaborative work to prepare the right sites. They are incredible and well-deserved wins and should serve as an example of the kind of success we can see here in Broome with the right preparation. 

Our community is blessed with incredible peaks and valleys, which provide a beautiful landscape to our daily lives. This geography, however, also makes it incredibly challenging for economic development. Unlike areas with vast amounts of flat land, we just don’t have significant tracks of “shovel ready” sites in Broome County. We must get a little more creative and innovative in how we create development opportunities. But that’s okay — it’s fitting for the scrappy and resilient community that we are.

Did you know that the last time we built a multi-acre development park was when the Broome County IDA built the Broome Corporate Park in 1984? That’s right — 1984. Doesn’t it feel like time to build something grand and new again? We make things that change the world here, so let’s build sites to do more of that. 

During the pandemic, we commissioned a comprehensive analysis of land and buildings, as well as greenfield and brownfield sites across the county. This inventory has helped us identify where we can build new economic-development sites to attract high-tech manufacturing, logistics, life sciences, and other growing industry sectors. 

As a result, we are researching the potential development of acreage in the towns of Maine and Union into a new and vibrant development park to support economic growth for the Greater Binghamton area. We take this role seriously. It’s not only an imperative for the IDA to build new sites — it is our responsibility. We anticipate that the development of this land could result in nearly $1 billion in annual economic activity through sales, compensation, tax revenue, and indirect business growth. 

We cannot guarantee a vibrant economic future without constructing new development sites. We need the support of our federal, state, and local elected officials. We need the support of our business and community leaders who want to attract new residents and employees. Most importantly, we need the support of the individuals who live and work throughout the community. We invite you to be part of what’s next and to support efforts to build new sites.


Vibrant Neighborhoods

For residents and businesses in our communities, the phrase “Vibrant Neighborhoods” means many things. It includes not only the development of a diverse portfolio of housing options, but also the creation of safe and engaged neighborhoods. The Leadership Alliance has identified housing as a priority initiative of our blueprint plan. We’ve financed state-of-the-art professional housing, including 50 Front St. Luxury Apartments, Ansco Lofts, and most recently, the magnificent Victory Lofts project. This former factory building stands as a beacon of reclaiming the spirit of innovation and optimism that supported our community for generations. The project will provide the community with 156 market-rate apartments with luxury amenities in addition to 7,500 square feet of commercial space. What once housed thousands of employees during the days of the Endicott-Johnson Shoe Company, will now provide more than 100 local construction jobs, totaling a $5 million payroll, and will serve to bolster workforce-development efforts by providing much needed housing in Johnson City’s Health Sciences & Cultural Arts District. 

We’ve also supported the continued development of affordable housing with the Century Sunrise project with Regan Development and have nearly 1,000 units of affordable housing planned over the next three years. We are thrilled to welcome outstanding developers including Kearney Realty and Conifer / LeChase to the community to construct new and modern affordable housing. 


Neighborhoods cannot be vibrant, however, without a strong sense of place. Placemaking is the collaborative process of activating public spaces to create value and increase a sense of belonging in communities. Placemaking is foundational to our community, the home of the “Square Deal Towns,” as identified by the employees of Endicott Johnson who put up arches to commemorate the sense of belonging, they felt in their communities. That is why we launched the Office of Placemaking Initiatives in 2022. The office was created to promote the unique assets of our community and to build a pride in place by empowering community members to take ownership and make use of underutilized public spaces. 

Individuals not only seek vibrant places; they demand them. Vibrancy is now on the top of the list for both job seekers and corporate site selectors, alike. The Office of Placemaking will work collaboratively with the community to create active and inclusive spaces. In just a short time, the office has already hosted “pop ups” including the inaugural Binghamton Better Cities Film Festival and will bring a singer-songwriter series to the riverfront this summer.

Talent & Leadership Development

The final priority of our blueprint plan will focus on talent and leadership development. Workforce development in a post-pandemic world has evolved beyond traditional training programs and have required communities to be innovative and creative about retention. Creating a leadership value chain is necessary to support business growth. This value chain begins as early as bringing students into the workplace, creating internship opportunities for area college students, and having a robust leadership pipeline within organizations. 

The Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce has developed several new programs to support the leadership value chain. These include K-12; young professional; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programming; and second-chance programming, such as the Collaborative Recovery Empowerment of the Southern Tier — a program designed to connect individuals in active recovery to gainful employment. A recent study by LinkedIn indicates 76 percent of employees and job seekers said diversity was important when considering offers, and 80 percent want to work for a company that values DEI issues. Collectively, our DEI programming has helped 400 area professionals to better understand DEI and begin implementing best practices in their workplaces, supporting our most vulnerable jobseekers and employees. We will continue to explore and expand leadership programming for a sustainable economic future. 

We’re excited about the future. There’s a new energy and a renewed optimism in our area. We’re ready to write the next chapter in our economic story. We invite you to join us. Together, we’re building a Greater Binghamton.      

Stacey Duncan is the CEO of the Leadership Alliance.