Six months ago today, the floods started.
Six months ago, few of us dreamed what the next six months would bring to so many of us in the Southern Tier of upstate New York. Those of us who lost our homes...our businesses....our basements...our neighborhoods...and even our jobs. If you look back and search my blog for "Binghamton Flood of 2011" you will see the progression of our area's story. (more on this tomorrow.)
Now, for employees of one business in our area, a six month wait appears to be over.
For six months, we held our breath while one of our larger area employers, BAE Industries, decided what their future in this area would be. Their 640,000. square foot building was ruined. Two months of 24/7 cleanup were for naught. BAE abandoned the building and ripped their sign off the front. It became what I called "TheNakedBuilding". I took this picture on one of the last days where a skeleton crew of BAE employees occupied it.
on the 6 month anniversary of the flood and of the last day BAE occupied an unruined building, BAE announced its future.
They are staying. They are permanently going to occupy six buildings in the original IBM Campus in Endicott, about 5 miles to the west of Westover, near Johnson City, New York. Endicott has seen better days - a lot of better days. It has sadly gone quite downhill in the last 15 or so years. It breaks my heart, as I worked in Endicott for many years. (not at IBM).
For years IBM occupied a large campus in Endicott Now, many layoffs later, many of the buildings are vacant. (the campus is now known as "Huron" and IBM is down to about 900 employees.) BAE had moved into six of those buildings soon after the flood. Now, they are staying. (although - I must note that some NY legislation is still needed to make this a true "done deal".)
Endicott is hoping the 1300 employees will help bring their community back from the brink.
In this long strange trip, I hope that BAE and its employees can finally rest. Endicott will be a good home to them. Our neighborhood's loss will be their gain.
The future of some parts of Westover is still in doubt. And soon, the demolition of TheNakedBuilding will begin. Perhaps the Bradford Pears in front of the building will bloom one last time in May.
And then it will be....The Beginning?