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University, state and local officials sign a School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences beam on Nov. 15 in Johnson City. From left are: Greg Deemie, Johnson City mayor; Assemblyman Clifford Crouch; Gov. Andrew Cuomo; Gloria Meredith, dean of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; state Sen. Fred Akshar, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo; Rose Sotak, town of Union supervisor; Howard Zemsky, president and CEO of Empire State Development; and Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Governor announces $100 million plus for Health Sciences and Technology Innovation Park
November 15, 2016Tweet
Calling it a great day in the Southern Tier, Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger welcomed a crowd to the Firehouse Stage in Johnson City for a ceremonial beam signing for the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and a major announcement of funding for the Health Sciences and Technology Innovation Park.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo joked that he was supposed to carry the beam to the top of the pharmacy school construction site across the street, but when Akshar declined to help, the ceremony was moved inside. Cuomo then announced a $105 million investment to include retrofitting the nearby Endicott Johnson shoebox manufacturing building to become the home of the Decker School of Nursing in 2019.
Cuomo spoke of the economic transformation much of the country underwent, moving away from manufacturing and toward a high-tech, innovation economy.
“But what happens to people in places like the Southern Tier that are dedicated to the manufacturing economy? Who will work with them to transition to the innovation economy?” he asked. “Upstate learned that lesson. The economy it knew ended and there was nothing to help it transition to the new economy. Shoes moved out. Who moves in? How do we get to the innovation economy?”
For the past 40 years, New York state and the federal government failed to step in, Cuomo said. “And the state made matters worse when it raised taxes. There was no positive solution.
“We started a different story a few years ago,” Cuomo said. “We started to focus on upstate and a new approach – you determine how to develop the economy in your region and play to its strengths and the state will invest in you. You need an investment banker, a partner. That’s us.
“What it means is that we will support your economic transformation in the Southern Tier with hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars,” Cuomo said. “The state was shortsighted when it overlooked upstate. We are one state financially. One set of books. If upstate doesn’t do well, downstate also pays the cost. The Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) has done great work in coming up with a plan – Southern Tier Soaring.”
Today’s funding announcement , which includes $21 million for the Decker School move, shows an important element of the plan coming together, built around healthcare and a corridor of innovation that puts partners together, Cuomo said. “As the pharmacy building is coming to fruition, we’re now announcing the next phase to build on healthcare and the life sciences.”
UHS Wilson Medical Center and the pharmacy and nursing schools that will bring about 1,000 students to Johnson City will drive a synergistic economy, Cuomo said, noting that the state is a “willing and loving investment partner.”
“Government can incentivize and initiate and push the stone off the top of the hill and let it pick up momentum coming off the hill. From yesterday to tomorrow – from the EJ shoe factory, to the crisis when it closed, and now to plans to reopen it as a nursing school teaching a new generation and creating synergy with the pharmacy school and hospitals.”
Lupardo said the announcement is the next exciting chapter for Binghamton University, and for the region. “We all know how important Binghamton University is, and its role in the REDC is anchoring the new innovation economy that will help turn us around.
“This region has come together as a region,” she added. “This growing optimism is something people can truly feel.”
Akshar, who also joked about the beam being too heavy for only two to carry, said creating opportunities like those currently before the region has the power to transform, but it takes teamwork, cooperation and vision.
Thanking Stenger, Cuomo and his predecessor, the late Thomas Libous, Akshar said, “I believe we have the state’s best workforce right here in the Southern Tier and with the expansion of the pharmacy and nursing schools, we will get even stronger.”