Community members have been discussing the question of what happened to the sign at Peace Park, and whether or not it's time to replace it. The large wooden sign stood near Plattekill Avenue from the park's dedication in 1994 until it disappeared sometime in 2006. The topic will be on the agenda for the Village Board to discuss at its meeting on Wednesday, May 26, 2010.
Local activist Rachel Lagodka thinks that four years is long enough for the park to be without signage, but is looking to find the original, since she'd been given the impression that it was taken down for repairs. "Should there be a sign at Peace Park?" she asked. "A sign shouldn't be difficult to produce, if the park should have a sign."
Lagodka posed her question via email to a number of current and former local officials, and some of them were willing to comment for this story.
Former Deputy Mayor Michael Zierler feels that paying for a new sign from the Park Reserve Fund is a good idea. He noted that he disagrees with the interpretation that the Park Reserve Fund can only be used to expand the village's park system, and that a new sign is an appropriate use for the funds. He went to say that "this sign could be made in-house or produced by one of our fine local businesses, thus keeping the money in the community."
Jason West, Mayor Terry Dungan's predecessor, isn't certain if the sign disappeared during his administration or since. Speculating as to the cause of the disappearance, he mused, "It's possible it was removed when the landscaping around the sculpture was done, which was around 2005 or 2006. But that's just an unfounded guess," suggesting that DPW superintendent Bleu Terwilliger might know the real answer. West, whose 100 Ideas for New Paltz blog details ways he believes the community could be improved, didn't include a Peace Park sign on his list, but he's not opposed to the idea. "I'd even suggest giving more info on a future sign. There are Peace Parks all over the place, some from WWI. Give a bit of background on why a Peace Park was created, whose idea was it and why."
Bleu Terwilliger did, in fact, have an answer to the question of what happened to the Peace Park sign. "It was damaged by a tree that fell in a storm five, six years ago," he said without hesitation. "It was a crab apple tree that fell. The sign was in pretty bad shape already," and had to be removed. At the time, "nobody wanted to replace it."
No current village officials commented in time for this story, but the Village Board accepts public comment at the beginning of its meetings, and is expected to discuss this matter tomorrow, May 26.