Since my Crossroads freakout (see below), I have done a lot of reading, thinking, listening, and talking talking talking about the project. Here are the facts of the case as I now see them (please note that this post is of no interest whatsoever to anyone but New Paltzers [New Paltzians?]):
-New Paltz is growing. More people want to live here than can afford to live here (I often include myself in that category) and there is a serious affordable housing shortage.
-We live in a capitalist system, and this land is looking for a buyer (or leaser? I am not sure). Though I am not a capitalist, I recognize that under capitalism the town cannot reject every idea a property owner has for developing his or her property forever. Something is going to go in that spot eventually whether we like it or not, so let’s work on liking it.
-Crossroads is a pretty dense development in that because it is a mixed-use project, it will cluster a good amount of housing with office space (ideally – this has not yet been firmed up), restaurants and shops, thus (again, ideally, I’m not convinced this will truly happen) cutting down on car usage. It could be argued that this is better than lots of the vile little ticky-tacky McMansiony developments that seem to spring up overnight – clustering people with the things people need (i.e., the way a city does) is absolutely a better environmental choice than the way a suburb operates.
-However, it could also be argued that Crossroads will create a shitty version of downtown New Paltz with chain stores and shit restaurants instead of locally-owned businesses and restaurants. It does not appear to me that the housing is going to be affordable enough that the people working in the shit restaurants and shit chain stores will be able to afford to live there.
-There is some talk on the Crossroads site that “energy-star appliances” will be used – but where’s the real commitment to environmental sustainability? If Crossroads was all LEED-certified and all that, with composting toilets and low-e windows and the whole shebang, then it truly could be an asset to the community.
-Apparently, 20 or so acres of the 57-acre project (so, half of that big black blob up there) will be permanently preserved as open space.
With these thoughts in mind, the New Paltz Green Party is going to be circulating a petition stating that the citizens of NP are in favor of the Crossroads development only if five conditions are met. The petition should be finished in the next day or so, and when it is I will post it here so my myriad NP readers can download and disseminate it.
(Thanks to Dresser Johnson for the Crossroads graphic)