As a resolution to an impasse of sorts, it has turned out pretty well for all concerned.
The Hudson-Catskill Housing Coalition rented a billboard at the intersection of Main Street and Route 9W for $2,265 and Wednesday unveiled the message it wanted to send from the outset: “Catskill Believes! Black Lives Matter.”
The Coalition first requested a Black Lives Matter mural on Main Street in the village on June 14. In a June 30 decision, the village board of trustees laid out several reasons it supported banners instead of a mural. But on July 23, the board reversed its decision and said no type of messaging would be allowed on village streets.
The billboard, financed by donations, will be displayed until November.
Individuals had independently approached the Coalition offering financial support for a mural, so when the Coalition decided to rent a billboard, members asked those donors if they would support it, and they did.
Catskill Village President Vincent Seeley praised the Coalition’s placement of the billboard Thursday.
“As we have said all along, Black lives do matter in Catskill,” Seeley said. “I am hopeful that this concludes the banner/mural war and we can get down to business.”
The billboard has ushered in a sort of detente between the village and the Coalition.
“The Hudson-Catskill Housing Coalition has resources and knowledge that could be helpful,” Seeley said. “I’m looking forward to working with them to better the lives of all our community members here in the village.”
That’s how democracy is supposed to work, assuming all sides are capable of being open to new ways of thinking and willing to accept new ideas. The Coalition and the village of Catskill demonstrated that they are up to the task.