“This year is the 125th anniversary of the Village of New Paltz,” Mayor West explained. “So we want to do something or some things.”
Although both the village and town promote themselves as having started when the Huguenots first settled the town in 1678, the village actually incorporated as a municipality in 1887.
One part of the plan is to take pre-existing events, such as the New Paltz Regatta, and give them a quasquicentennial theme. Specifically, Mayor West is working with organizers to transform the July 4 fireworks into a celebration of the village itself.
Instead of having the fireworks at the Ulster County Fairgrounds, they might go off at the village boat launch on Springtown Road, with people watching across the river near The Gilded Otter.
“The thought is to have kind of a street festival and to have music all day,” the mayor said. “We don’t want to compete with the town. We want to collaborate with them, bring it into the village and make it bigger than ever.”
Village Board members voted to pursue the idea of working with the Town of New Paltz to retool the Independence Day fireworks for this year only.
Trustee Brian Kimbiz voted no on the fireworks idea, saying he did not think Mayor West had brought forth a concrete enough plan. Kimbiz wanted to see more of what the street closures would be if the fireworks would be moved, since it could involve shutting down the bridge over the Wallkill River.