The Upstate Revitalization Initiative: How Will This Funding Affect the Binghamton Community?

Posted by Senior Matthew Carrigan on April 15, 2016

New York state granted the Southern Tier region $500 million last December as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI) competition. The URI will help to further stimulate the economy of the Southern Tier. While the Binghamton community will see some benefits of these changes, these initiatives will also help Binghamton University students to have the best educational and social experiences. Find out how these changes will impact life in the local area.

Johnson City Health and Cultural iDistrict: New Graduate Programs and Medical Technologies

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The Decker School of Nursing now has the funding to join the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the next addition to Binghamton's evolving roster of programs, on the newly established Johnson City campus. This move will allow the Vestal campus to better utilize space for new programs as the University continues to expand. With an ever-growing student population, the free space will be a valuable asset.

The new pharmacy school and the relocated nursing school will be the anchors of a proposed Health Sciences and Technology Innovation Park. Another project proposed for the park is a University-funded Biofoundry, which will utilize 3D technologies to one day produce prosthetics, tissues, organs and implants. University researchers will look for new ways to treat chronic conditions like osteoarthritis and brain trauma injuries. While the Health Sciences and Technology Innovation Park in Johnson City will host all of these University-driven initiatives, it also aims to attract industry partners from the same field of research and development.

Binghamton iDistrict: A Greener, Healthier Binghamton and New Developments

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Riding your bike from the Vestal campus to downtown Binghamton may previously have seemed difficult, but a new bike trail will soon change that. URI funds are expected to help create a 2.5-mile bike trail that will connect the Vestal campus to South Washington Street in Binghamton. This trail will decrease students’ reliance on cars and buses, and simultaneously allow for healthy and convenient alternative methods of transportation.

Visit the campus bike shop in the University Union for a quick tune-up if you are in the mood for some cycling. The Binghamton University Bike Share will be a great way to exercise with fellow Bearcats.

The City of Binghamton is also working with a private developer to further enhance downtown. Part of the URI grant is expected to be invested in a project that will combine housing, parking and commercial retail space. Making downtown Binghamton more accessible to visitors will give business owners a welcome financial boost, and students will have more entertainment, shopping and restaurant options at their disposal. Located in the heart of downtown Binghamton, the complex at 7 Hawley St. will be a great utilization of space for students, residents and business owners alike.

Endicott Advanced Manufacturing iDistrict: Industry Revitalization

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With advanced manufacturing already featured as the third-largest employment sector in the Southern Tier, a surge forward in technology projects and processes will empower the area to continue expanding this lucrative industry. 

URI funding is also being targeted to help the University and its industry partners establish a 3D printing center located in the Huron Campus in Endicott. This new facility will complement the existing 3D printing facility that was added to our campus last semester, putting us ahead of the curve in advancing this technology.

The new Flexible Printed Electronics Center will also be located in Endicott, providing even more ways to maximize research efforts. Both facilities will be supported by major companies like BAE Systems, which specializes in international defense and aerospace, and i3 Electronics, which focuses on circuit board assembly and semiconductor systems integration. As the manufacturing sector grows in the region, more companies will take advantage of the Southern Tier's concentration of resources and expertise. In turn, these centers will provide even more students with an opportunity to do research and receive real-world experiences in the field of advanced manufacturing, thus creating potential employment opportunities for students.

New Projects: Important Partnerships and Research

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Distinguished Professor M. Stanley Whittingham's research is another direct University initiative expected to benefit from the URI. Having created the lithium-ion battery, Whittingham's work has already earned nearly $13 million in federal grants to fund an Energy Frontier Research Center here at Binghamton. The Northeast Center for Chemical and Energy Storage located at the Innovative Technologies Complex is also involved in this research, looking to enhance the way batteries store and use energy. The URI is expected to underwrite the expense of the 'dry room,' a necessary-yet -xpensive component of this research which will allow manufacturers to build and test new systems.

A Better Community: Improving the Greater Binghamton Area

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What is better than watching your college's city turn into a bustling center for industry, research and vibrant culture right before your eyes? The URI funding will lay the foundation for local developments and private investments, which will prove advantageous to the Binghamton community. Municipal governments in the area will also benefit from this funding.

With new jobs, improved infrastructure and accessible housing opportunities, the URI aims to promote a better lifestyle for everyone in the Binghamton community. The supportive ecosystem surrounding our University is bound to help students, faculty and others feel like they are part of a progressive, safe and healthy community. This funding will help generations of Binghamton students and residents prosper.

Matthew Carrigan is a senior majoring in English from Farmingdale, N.Y. He is interested in content writing, copywriting, public relations and communications.

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