Paul Brown: Collectible and suitable for framing

paul-brown-SQWhen I walked into Starbucks last week to meet a friend, I was delighted to see a woman poring over the first annual edition of the Explore New Paltz map published by the founder and former owner of PDQ Printing, Craig Shankles. Delighted because I had recently interviewed Craig about his publication and was planning to write about it later that afternoon.

I introduced myself and asked if she would be willing to tell me her thoughts about the map, which depicts our town on one side and a ‘blow up’ of the downtown village area on the other. When her husband came back to the table with their coffee, he told me they were visiting our area from England and using it to plan a walk around New Paltz and do some shopping. I was sure this would warm the cockles of Craig’s heart and pleased to hear that they had already identified some of the stores they planned to visit, using the little red numbered circles on the buildings that correspond to the similarly numbered small ads providing the business name and offerings.

I pointed out something that is a personal delight to me, which is the amazingly accurate rendering of each and every building depicted on both sides of the map, the work of local resident Matt Maley. Matt’s artistic skills make this first edition, in my humble opinion, a collectible and suitable for framing. I plan to do just that. When I first showed it to my family, they were fascinated with the illustrations and commented on the ‘sense of place’ that this advertising piece provides for both tourists and residents of New Paltz. We spent almost half an hour poring over it and playing a game reminiscent of “Where’s Waldo.” Who in your family will be the first to spot the ‘runner’ or the ‘ladies in black’? This is definitely not a ‘for tourists only’ publication.


Craig told me he had first envisioned producing this community-friendly marketing tool almost 20 years ago and when the attractive, glossy 18 by 32 inch map finally hit the streets on February 1 of this year, it had felt like a ‘dream come true’. Local businesses have enthusiastically embraced the concept, as shown by their sponsorship of its publication.

Craig had initially budgeted for a printing of 12,000 copies, however, based on early reactions to the mock-ups he had been showing around town, he decided to increase his investment to 15,000. Subsequent additional positive feedback ultimately led to the decision to print 20,000 copies of this 2014 first edition. The good news is there are only a few thousand left, and the fall tourism season will surely take care of those. You can find the Explore New Paltz map, free of charge, at most local businesses or, lacking that, at I’m sure Craig will be happy to provide you with a signed first edition.


An important investment in the future of our community

On October 28 each of us who lives within the boundaries of the New Paltz Central School District (NPCSD) will have the opportunity to vote on whether or not to authorize our School Board to implement a $52.9 million capital improvement project which, according to the district’s website, will be used “… to upgrade infrastructure and provide program improvements in all four of the district’s schools. It is anticipated that 50% of the project will be funded by New York state aid. Repayment of the balance is anticipated to take 20 years, with the average district homeowner paying $20 per $100,000 of assessed value annually for the term of the bond.”

I’ve watched the members of the NPCSD consider these capital improvements for almost two years. The board members carefully examined the safety and security of the students and staff, the costs, the impact on taxpayers, the way these proposed improvements match up with a longer-term master plan and a way to make sure that all four schools were updated in a rational manner. They also delayed action when they realized that some data and information required a second look. The board members did exactly what we elected them to do and, overall, both past and present members worked together effectively to arrive at their recommendation.

This is a project that addresses serious deficiencies in our entire physical plant and a YES VOTE will ensure an investment that will benefit all the schools and students in our community for years to come.