The city of West Lafayette has canceled its plan to block off State Street and Northwestern Avenue after blowback from local businesses.
After the announcement of the closure, dozens of State Street business owners signed a petition to stop the closures that would’ve taken place on Purdue’s homecoming game day.
The owners, including John von Erdmannsdorff of Von’s Shops, say it would’ve made customers avoid the area.
He says it would be plausible for a special outdoor event like a festival, but not for Purdue’s homecoming football game.
“There are 50 somewhat unique businesses in the Village area, and if the people are routed around the Village, they don’t even know that it exists if they’re coming from out of town,” he says. “It just makes no sense.”
More than 40 business owners – including those from Harry’s Chocolate Shop, University Bookstore and Discount Den – signed a petition to stop the closures.
Mayor John Dennis says their concerns are justified.
“We did not connect with our business community enough for this to be a viable program to initiate at this time,” he says. “And by that, we need to make sure our business community understands specifically what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Eventually, Dennis says, the city wants to turn the State Street area into a festival ground, but now isn’t the right time to test it as an outdoor venue.