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Catskill drags its feet on BLM mural proposal

Jun 25, 2020 6:00 am
Sarah Trafton is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media the Hudson/Catskill Housing Coalition has requested a Black Lives Matter-themed mural be painted on Main Street in Catskill, and on Second Street in Hudson. The city of Hudson has committed to the mural, Mayor Kamal Johnson said, but the Catskill Village Board offered two compromises instead: to put a mural on Water Street or install banners above Main Street. “What does it say about our community values to push a statement for black lives to the side?,” Hudson/Catskill Coalition Housing Program Coordinator Molly Stinchfield said. Stinchfield noted that Village President Vinny Seeley expressed concern over disrupting Main Street businesses after the COVID shutdown as a reason for rejecting the request. Seeley and board member Natasha Law support the mural idea, but agreed that Main Street would not be the ideal location. Law suggested the mural be painted on a building instead of a roadway. But the board also asked the coalition to change the slogan, Stinchfield said. A slogan original proposed was, “Defund the Police,” Seeley said “When we first asked Vinny,...He said it would have to say Black Lives Matter and we were willing to do that. We were not willing to move the mural off Main Street,” Stinchfield said. The Catskill Police Department's 2020-21 budget totals $1.3 million, or 26.5 percent of the village's overall spending plan of $4.9 million. The department has 14 full-time and three part-time employees. The village of Catskill has approximately 4,500 residents. Conversations about moving resources are possible, Seeley said, but he urged a "thoughtful, transparent approach." Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.
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