Treating The Tension

Cartoon by Mike Sheinkopf.

The property next to New Paltz High School is said to be only one of the possible locations for a new sewage treatment facility and is causing concern from some members of the community as well as the New Paltz School Board. The proposal is creating a rift between the town board – the proposers of the creation of this facility – and others who feel the town board’s true intentions were not clear.

We at The New Paltz Oracle believe every student here is an integral part of the New Paltz community. As such, we encourage students to be aware of what is occurring outside of the campus sphere.

Both a sewage system and the boom of new businesses it is meant to support would impact the dynamic of the town. We can be both negatively or positively impacted, as any member of the community would be, by this pending infrastructure’s location and what it means for the town.

But to obtain information, information must be obtainable. Transparency of information, even from the most infant stages, is in the best interest of everyone involved. Although opposition may be brought on early from those outside looking in, planning in a glass house will allow the community to see what is occurring without having to throw stones later on down the line.

Although there have been efforts to maintain transparency throughout this planning period, we do not believe that it has been sufficient enough. We understand that the public town board meetings are held in order to discuss issues such as this – but the fierceness and unprofessionalism displayed at these meetings needs to be alleviated as soon as possible.

Not being transparent regarding this issue has created an atmosphere of paranoia and secrecy, which has taken a greater precedent than the issue itself, even when no secrets or alternative motives may be happening. This leads to distain and anger from those who are kept in the dark, which is ultimately unproductive and distracting.

In these times, when a decision is to be made that can affect the community with such force, it is essential  that the key players in the community and the citizens themselves do not face off against one another, but create a forum of opinion. Respect is key, for spite is a powerful emotion that can spin well meaning intentions out of control and cause one to lose sight of what is most beneficial.

As of now, the sewage treatment plant’s build site is yet to be determined. As conflict hopefully subsides and the town board bands together to face the planning process as one peaceful entity, we hope that they will continue to study the possible impacts that a sewage plant will bring to the site and area surrounding. If it is decided that the site near New Paltz High School is the most sufficient choice, then we hope that the safety of the students is of upmost confidence to not be affected before any ground is broken.


Editorials represent the views of the majority of the editorial board. Columns, op-eds and letters, excluding editorials, are solely those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The New Paltz Oracle, its staff members, the campus and university or the Town or Village of New Paltz.