100 Ideas for New Paltz

why make this list?

After more than a decade involved in New Paltz politics, the number of projects I’ve had time and resources to work on, propose or put into practice is small compared to everything that I’ve thought was worth doing.  The constraints on volunteers, staff, resources and time prevent every idea from being followed up on. This list isn’t a manifesto; it represents possible next steps.  There are some projects that have been proposed before, and some projects that are in process. I hope that most of this list takes the long view.

This list is arbitrary.  It is in no particular order.  Idea number three isn’t necessarily more or less important than idea number 87.  Some of them save us all money, some of them don’t.  This list isn’t always a list of what can be done tomorrow with no price tag or consequences.  It represents one possible list of the next one hundred steps we can take.

Some of these ideas are thoroughly proven to work in other communities, some of them have never been tried before.

But all of these ideas are possible.

Every one of these ideas can be made reality.  It may take ten years to realize, but it can be done.  It may require acts of the State Legislature, but it can done.  If someone can prove that some of these projects are not workable, I’ll take it down with gratitude for being educated.  If someone has links or information to improve on these ideas, I’ll add that to the blog, with thanks and credit to those who provide such information.

Many of the ideas on this list may read as technical, or too small when compared to the scale of the problems we as humanity will face in the coming century.  To that criticism I say that, while there is tremendous power and potential in local government, that power is clearly not enough, in and of itself, to save the world.  However, by taking a large number of small steps, by putting into practice what so many preach, these small innovations in our community can serve as examples for others. The risks taken and solutions proven by one town, village or city government are incredibly easy to replicate.  As soon as one community leads by example, it becomes easier for others to follow.

For the few dozen elected offiials and appointed volunteers, I hope that this blog creates conversations whose high level of debate informs their work.  For those of us not engaged in governance directly, I hope this blog creates a space where we as a community can write to each other about our vision for New Paltz beyond the next election cycle.  I hope we can help each other  clarify what steps we should take together in order to build the best community we can for those who come after us a generation from now.  It’s the least we can do in gratitude to those who came before us and from whom we inherited the New Paltz we’ve come to love.

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