Upstate New York is uniquely challenged. The region’s plight is often masked by state-level economic and demographic statistics that are positively skewed by New York City and well-off suburbs. Despite these broader challenges, the City of Corning has remained an island of stability within the region’s longstanding economic decline. This stability is due in large part to Corning Inc., which has served as a pillar of the local and regional economy for generations. Despite its special status in the region, city leaders recognized that building an economy around a single employer presents its own set of challenges. Furthermore, while the surrounding region had undergone numerous strategic planning initiatives, Corning had never had an economic development strategic plan.
To fill this planning gap and create a roadmap for the next decade and beyond, the City of Corning hired TIP Strategies to conduct a long-range planning process. As a foundation for this work, the consulting team assessed factors affecting the City’s competitiveness and identified the most promising growth sectors for new business investment and job growth in Corning. The team’s quantitative analysis was supplemented by an extensive input process that included dozens of community and business leaders through roundtable discussions and individual interviews. The resulting plan identified eight goals ranging from supporting science, technology, research, and development, to visitor attraction, to redevelopment opportunities. In addition, the plan recognized the key role that four existing support structures—housing and neighborhoods, education and workforce, transportation and infrastructure, and the waterfront and other amenities—would play in the city’s future prosperity.