The right preparation can be a game changer in economic development. Micron, Global Foundries, Plug Power, Wolfspeed, and the recent announcement of $650 million by the Coca-Cola Company to put a Fairlife dairy facility in Monroe County, 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 and new economic development sites.
Our community is blessed with incredible peaks and valleys, which provide the landscape to our daily lives. This geography, however, also makes it incredibly challenging for economic development. Unlike areas where there are vast amounts of flat land, we currently don’t have significant tracks of “shovel ready” sites in Broome. 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-acreage development park was when the IDA built the Broome Corporate Park in 1984? Nineteen Eighty-Four. (I was in 4th grade). The Broome Corporate Park, which I now have the great privilege to manage, was built to support and sustain several generations. It is also essentially full. 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, greenfield and brownfield sites across the county. This inventory has helped us identify where we can build new economic development sites to attract high technology manufacturing, food 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 over the next two decades. We take this role very seriously. It is not only an imperative for the IDA to build new sites - it is our responsibility. Our mission is to serve as a partner, catalyst, and investor in new investment and development sites to create jobs and to enhance the tax base for the residents of Broome County.
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 are also advancing applications to New York State's shovel ready fund for 600 Main Street in the Town of Union and we support efforts by Equilibrium Equities to build new industrial buildings at the site of the former 5-Mile Speedway in the Town of Kirkwood.
We cannot guarantee a vibrant economic future without constructing new development sites. It is that important. We cannot take a "BANANA" approach to land development (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything).
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 residents that want to see continued growth for their families and for future generations to find opportunity here. We invite you to be part of what’s next and to support efforts to build new sites. Together, let's build a greater Binghamton.
Leadership Alliance CEO Stacey Duncan