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BU Forum Discusses Southern Tier's URI Prize

On Wednesday, Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger held a forum in the school's University Union. At the forum, he discussed the Southern Tier's recent $500 million award of the Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

President Stenger says the URI win will create an economic comeback for the region.

Stenger is co-chair of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council that helped to get the URI prize. He provided details on the four initiatives in its proposal, including an innovation ecosystem and advanced industries. He says dozens of upcoming projects are expected to create thousands of new jobs.

"I grew up in Central New York, Upstate New York, and then I left in 1979. I came back in 2006 and I said, ‘Whoa, what happened? Where did everybody go? Where did all of those companies go that my dad, and my dad’s friends worked for? And so I think it’s exciting for me to be here, to see us at a turning point where we can bring back some of those jobs," said Stenger.

One project includes the $21 million rehabilitation of 48 Corliss Ave in Johnson City. This will become the new location of BU's Decker School of Nursing. The expansion of space will allow for an expansion of faculty and more openings for students, according to Stenger. It will join the already funded School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, which is set to be built by 2018. Together these schools, along with a university-driven Biofoundry project, will create the Southern Tier Health Sciences and Technology Innovation Park.

"This means that we can attract industries to the area that will collaborate from a research standpoint with members of my faculty as well as clinical scientists at the hospital and nursing school, and also at the pharmacy school," said Gloria Meredith, founding Dean of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Stenger highlighted other projects including the Route 434 greenway bike and pedestrian trail, linking Downtown Binghamton to BU's campus. The revitalization of Downtown Endicott and mixed use developments, such as 7 Hawley St., were also among projects discussed.