WL Parks & Rec Hopes To Spend $2M On Morton Center, More If 'City Hall' Leaves

Jun 2, 2017

Credit Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA

The West Lafayette City Council is set to vote Monday on the Parks and Recreation Department’s action plan, which includes spending more than $1.8 million on the Morton Community Center – a building that’s been the de facto city hall for the last three years.

In spring of 2014, the former city hall on Navajo Drive was found to contain toxic mold, so the center became home to many city departments. But Parks and Rec Superintendent Janet Fawley says if the administration eventually moves elsewhere, they’ll use the office space to expand services.

“Maybe do some childcare,” she says. “That’s one of the hopes of mine to see us have there, available for people that are using Morton Center. So, something to make it easier.”

RIGHT: INTERACTIVE MAP OF THE PROPOSED ACTION PLAN PROJECTS

Fawley says the proposed renovations in the five-year plan to the Morton Community Center are designed to keep residents coming back. 

“We don’t do something with the building and make it a more practical situation for people to enjoy their pursuits, then they will find other places to go,” she says.

But city officials have said they don’t want to keep coming back to work there, because the space was built as a school, not an office building.

City development director Erik Carlson says there’s “no plan” to move out city leadership out of Morton Center, but officials have long said they do not want to continue using the former schoolhouse as office and meeting space, noting that the building’s former auditorium has to be reconfigured every time a public meeting is held there.

Speaking on WBAA’s “Ask the Mayor” earlier this year, West Lafayette’s Mayor John Dennis said the first step in creating a replacement for the former city hall is finding out what the public wants in a new facility.

Carlson says those public input meetings probably won’t happen until late this year or early next year.

The city council is slated to vote on the parks and rec action plan at Monday’s meeting.