New WL Economic Development Director: It's Not Just About State Street

Aug 2, 2016

West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis (right) administers the oath of office to Erik Carlson (left) as Carlson starts his new job as the city's director of development.
Credit Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

The city of West Lafayette has hired a new development director to oversee the business investment the city will rely on to pay back the cost of its State Street overhaul.

Erik Carlson replaces Chandler Poole, who sat on the Joint Board that drew up the State Street redesign, but who left the city earlier this year to move back to his home state of Wisconsin.

Carlson has worked in economic development in Indianapolis and before that in Lexington, Kentucky, where he covered the beat as a reporter.

He says he reported on Lexington city leaders bungling a major road construction and cityscape project connecting the city to the University of Kentucky campus, and he hopes to use lessons learned from that to prevent similar mistakes with State Street.

“So I’m utilizing what I’ve seen there, what I’ve talked with other people that have done, to make sure that we’re getting out in front of it and helping the business owners of the community make sure that they are not adversely affected," Carlson says.

Carlson says he realizes the city’s existing tax increment financing districts need to generate more money going forward to pay Purdue University back for fronting the money for State Street, so he’s also focused on getting economic returns from Purdue’s tech parks and from land surrounding U.S. 52.