West Lafayette officials Wednesday officially announced they plan to close off two additional streets in conjunction with the State Street overhaul.
City Development Director Erik Carlson says he’s been telling businesses for months that Brown Street would be dead-ended at River Road, even though there was no money secured for any further improvements.
“The plan has been for Brown Street to close, because it is a dangerous intersection," Carlson says. "We didn’t know exactly how we were going to pay for it, we knew we were going to find ways to pay for it and we’re taking advantage of this contract to seal off the road and we’ll go back to address Brown Street here in the very near future.”
City Engineer Ed Garrison says the shuttering of the intersection was included in the State Street bidding process – despite the fact it wasn’t included on any publicly-available maps until earlier this month.
But when the cities of Lafayette and West Lafayette hired a consultant to hold public gatherings on Brown Street, officials touted creation of a plaza in which to hold the events.
Garrison believes the city will get the cash for that job from its Redevelopment Commission. But even though the closed roads will host events this year, Garrison says the plaza won’t actually be built until 2018.
“We haven’t finalized our budgets for 2018 yet, but our goal is when we start working through the budget process, we’ll make sure whatever money we need for that project – for both the Brown Street project, and hopefully the South Street project, depending on how those line up, to get those taken care of starting in the spring of ’18,” Garrison says.
The cities of Lafayette and West Lafayette are paying their consultant some $55,000 this year to decide what events take place on the closed roads.