WL Residents To Decide Future Of City Hall - If One Is Even Needed

Oct 20, 2017

The Morton Center, a former school, has served as the de facto city hall for more than three years.
Credit Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA

West Lafayette officials expect to hold public input sessions before the end of the year about the idea of a new city hall.

The city’s redevelopment commission has signed an agreement with Columbus, Ohio-based Pizzuti Companies, who Development Director Erik Carlson says employ a process that significantly weighs public input.

“What we really liked about their proposal was they have a site selection matrix that they’ve previously used – both with municipal buildings and with other large structures with a large membership organization to take both the public or whatever that community’s opinions are into play, and other objective factors,” Carlson says.

Carlson says the process will start by asking whether residents feel it’s even necessary to have a physical location for city hall.

Mayor John Dennis has hinted in the past that much of the work transacted at city hall in the past can now be done electronically, so a new building may not need to be as comprehensive as its predecessors – or needed at all.

If residents do want a new structure, they’ll also get to weigh in on what region of the city should play host.

The former city hall, vacated in 2014 when toxic mold was discovered and torn down earlier this year, was in the northern part of the city.

Carlson says that’s one possible area for a replacement, but he concedes expansion along the $120 million State Street corridor overhaul might make residents want a location near all the new apartment and retail spaces set to be built in West Lafayette’s nascent downtown in the coming few years.

Construction on any new plan isn’t likely to start before 2019, Carlson says.