Picture a place with a reasonable cost of living and incredible natural beauty. Think of communities where you may run into your neighbor at the coffee shop – or while cheering at a professional sporting event. Add world-renowned institutions of higher education and residents known for their capacity to innovate. Now put all of these advantages at the intersection of major highways and rivers, with easy access to half of the North American population.
That’s the Southern Tier…
So begins the introduction to the strategy that will bring transformational change and investment in the Southern Tier of New York State, including Broome County. This plan was developed and submitted as part of the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, which will award three regions in the state with a $500 million investment over five years (http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/southern-tier).
Developed with an unprecedented level of collaboration and support, the Southern Tier’s strategy includes the input from experts from world renowned education institutions like Cornell and Binghamton University, global industry leaders including Corning, Inc., Lockheed Martin, and Raymond Corporation, dozens of non-profit, economic development, and government organizations, and more than 1,000 individuals from across the Southern Tier. All were working with a single goal in mind - to transform the southern tier to a hotbed of innovation and business growth, a destination for the next generation workforce, and an ideal location to have an abundant work/life balance.
The Southern Tier’s strategy is clear: build upon the strong foundation of innovation that once built companies like Endicott Johnson and IBM, but with a clear eye on the future. We’re moving forward, and we want the innovators and the best and brightest talent to move with us.
The foundation of our investment will build upon our core strengths in manufacturing, research and development, and an area rich with startup opportunities. We’re building an economy without borders and that will recognize the southern tier as a hub of innovation and opportunity. Our plan includes a laser-focus on the growth and development of advanced manufacturing, specifically within the transportation sector. With our distinguished concentration of multi-national corporations such as Amphenol, Alstom, BAE, Borg Warner, CAF, Corning, Inc., Lockheed Martin, and Raymond Corporation, we’re going to expand the supply chain, increase foreign investment, and create high wage jobs and opportunities for new startups to support the advanced manufacturing ecosystem. Jobs created in this sector will provide the transferrable skills needed to make the southern tier a destination and leader in the advanced manufacturing industry.
We’re also building upon our strength as a leader in innovative agriculture technology and food processes. The Southern Tier is poised to be a world-recognized leader in innovative agriculture technology and food processes and will become the key food supplier to the East Coast of the United States. We’re pioneering agriculture development funds to encourage urban farming, ag-entrepreneurs, and new technologies for major food industries such as wine and beverages and dairy products.
Our strategy includes an innovative plan to transform the region’s largest urban center with the creation of the Greater Binghamton Innovation Ecosystem. Greater Binghamton/Broome County sits uniquely as the gateway to the Southern Tier. The convergence of Interstates 81, 88, and the future 86 provides the ideal location and connectivity to innovation in the region. The Greater Binghamton Innovation Ecosystem will transform the tri-city centers of Binghamton, Johnson City, and Endicott via three distinctive iDistricts anchored by Binghamton University. Construction is underway on the Southern Tier High Technology Incubator in downtown Binghamton that will incubate startups in the areas of smart energy and health care technology. The Johnson City iDistrict will be developed around Binghamton University’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences that will provide business development opportunities in bio-pharma and regenerative medicine. Lastly, the Endicott iDistrict will expand upon Binghamton University’s footprint in flexible printed electronics, create an industrial 3D printing center, and a pilot micro grid project.
Greater Binghamton’s urban footprint will be transformed from a stagnant former industrial center to an innovative and vibrant knowledge economy. Our innovation ecosystem will provide a sense of place for millennials and professionals who want a work/life balance in a community rich with arts, culture and recreation.
We’re making game-changing investments in Broome County and the Southern Tier and we want you to be a part of it. Now is the time to invest in Broome County. You can thrive here and thrive now.
Kevin McLaughlin is the Executive Director of The Agency Broome County IDA/LDC and a member of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council