When New Paltz VILLAGE planning board chairman Maurice Weitman died in 2015, Mayor Tim Rogers and village trustees decided to honor his memory by naming something after him. They eventually agreed on Mulberry Street, which is one of the major intersections in the NBR zone that Weitman worked long and hard to create. Those efforts, however, have led to some confusion and concern among Mulberry Street residents.
According to Rogers, it’s an example of all things government being more complicated than expected. Changing the legal name of Mulberry Street requires a law and considerably more expense than simply adding a memorial to the existing street signs, which was the agreed-upon plan. Official street names are on green signs, and memorials are on brown. However, street-name signs must comply with newer laws mandating larger, easier-to-read type. “Maurice Weitman Memorial Way” proved too big to mount atop “Mulberry Street.” That, plus what Rogers calls imperfect communication on his part, led to Mulberry being replaced with Weitman signage for a short period of time. The old signs have since been returned.
“Right up until hours before he passed,” Rogers wrote in a letter to the editor at the time, “Maurice was e-mailing about the rezoning work our committee was doing for ‘the Neighborhood Business Residential Mixed-Use District’ for Route 32 North. He coined the district’s name and was committed to making sure every detail of the related law was accurate and reflected its ‘purpose.’
“He did all this with an intense style but one that was balanced with a silly and clever sense of humor. I could not have imagined a more committed and qualified contributor for our community.”
Going forward, Rogers said, signage honoring Weitman won’t be on the same pole at all. Instead, a square sign will be installed at the southwest corner of the intersection. On it will be the Weitman honorific and arrows pointing east and west. The mayor believes that should prevent any confusion.