BINGHAMTON, NY – The Agency (Broome County IDA/LDC), in partnership with the Rod Serling Memorial Foundation, the Serling Family, the Conrad & Virginia Klee Foundation, Broome County, the City of Binghamton, and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo’s office, announced today the beginning of a feasibility study for the potential development of the Rod Serling “Dimensions of Imagination” Center for Media and the Arts. While Rod Serling is well known and well respected for his work around the world, many people do not know that Binghamton is his hometown. Just as Serling continued to honor his roots, our community wishes to honor him.
Venue Strategies, the firm conducting the feasibility study, boasts a strong history of successful collaboration with private corporations, government entities, and educational institutions creating unique places and experiences that drive economic growth. The feasibility study marks phase 1 of the proposed development and will serve to clearly define the overall concept, site and comparable facility analysis, design and construction cost, and identify prospective avenues for financial support.
The potential economic impact of this project is substantial. Thanks to the City of Binghamton’s central location, as five hours from most major Northeastern Metros, more than 115 million people live within just a day’s drive to Binghamton New York. The proposed “Dimension of Imagination” Center for Media and the Arts will join several other major tourist destinations in the Southern Tier of New York such as the Lucy-Desi Museum, the National Comedy Center, the Mark Twain Center, and the Baseball Hall of Fame, adding to the robust arts & entertainment corridor. The indirect economic impact of this project will result in more activity at our downtown restaurants, hotels, and other key tourism-adjacent services.
“The proposed development of the Rod Serling ‘Dimensions of Imagination’ Center for Media and the Arts serves to not only preserve his legacy, but to honor his work by supporting future generations of artists and writers. This center will provide a sense of community for Broome County’s growing vibrant arts sector and prove to be a major tourist destination and economic driver for Greater Binghamton,” said CEO of the Leadership Alliance, Stacey Duncan.
“The Conrad and Virginia Klee Foundation is proud to invest in this critical, early-stage exploration of a Rod Serling Multi-Media Center for the Arts. We believe this project has the potential to catalyze the ongoing renaissance we’re seeing across the Greater Binghamton area, and we’re excited to partner with the IDA, Broome County and others to pursue this significant opportunity for our community,” said Amanda McIntyre, Executive Director of the Klee Foundation.
“For as long as I can remember, I have been a fan of Rod Serling. Many people don’t know that Rod Serling grew up near Recreation Park in Binghamton. I am proud to be here to support the development of a Serling Center for Media and the Arts to honor his legacy as one of the great American creatives of the 20th Century,” said Binghamton Mayor Jared M. Kraham.
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said, “I have long thought our community could do more to honor the life and legacy of Rod Serling. As a lifelong fan of the “Twilight Zone” I always believed other fans of the show would come to the region if we had a dedicated tourist destination. I am thrilled that we are finally undertaking a feasibility study for the Rod Serling Multi-Media Center for the Arts. The possibilities for what this could mean for our area are endless.”
Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said, "It is long overdue that Rod Serling's hometown have a place dedicated to celebrating his legacy and sharing his vision. Virtually every modern day creative writer and filmmaker was impacted by Serling's work and this center will inspire future generations of writers and artists. Broome County is excited to join this effort to 'travel through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind."
Anne Serling, Rod Serling’s daughter, shared, “Some people are familiar with my dad's quote about Binghamton. If not, this is what he said:
Everybody has to have a hometown, Binghamton's mine. In the strangely brittle, terribly sensitive make-up of a human being, there is a need for a place to hang a hat or a kind of geographical womb to crawl back into, or maybe just a place that's familiar because that's where you grew up. When I dig back through memory cells, I get one particularly distinctive feeling—and that's one of warmth, comfort and well-being. For whatever else I may have had, or lost, or will find—I've still got a hometown. This, nobody's gonna take away from me.
What not many may know is that every summer when we would come east to our cottage on Cayuga Lake, my dad would drive back to Binghamton and visit all the places from his youth: the carousel, his old house, his school, all the old haunts. This trip was an annual pilgrimage. I would see him pull out of the gravel drive and watch him go. There is something poignant about this Serling Center to be erected in his honor, in a place he loved so much and would return to even in his writing. On behalf of my family, thank you for your respect of my father, for your belief in his goals and for bringing him home.”
The feasibility study is expected to begin in December and preliminary results and recommended actions will be provided in late spring of next year.