Among the ideas in a proposed West Lafayette Downtown Plan is eventually platting a street grid where Levee Plaza and surrounding businesses are now. (Photo: Dave Bangert/Journal & Courier)
Among the ideas in a proposed West Lafayette Downtown Plan is eventually platting a street grid where Levee Plaza and surrounding businesses are now. (Photo: Dave Bangert/Journal & Courier)
WEST LAFAYETTE – With dust still settling on the latest burst of development – construction of more than 2,500 beds in walking distance of Purdue is wrapping up this month, with retail components still being assembled – West Lafayette is already asking: What’s next?

Specifically, what’s next for the city’s vision of a new downtown, stretching from the Wabash River to Purdue’s campus along the recently finished, $120 million remaking of State Street?

This week, the wraps come off the latest version of what city leader and county planners call the West Lafayette Downtown Plan. In 105 pages, the draft plan sees a radically different Levee area, potentially a whole new concept for Harrison Bridge, pocket parks to offset the new vertical rise of student housing along State Street and more.

Just … not so fast.

“I think the whole purpose of the plan is to put out some parameters for what the city needs and what it doesn’t,” Mayor John Dennis said. “This will be methodical. This will be rolled out slowly. We’re talking decades. But this is where we start to say, ‘This is what our downtown could be.’”

On Thursday, the city and the Tippecanoe County Area Plan Commission will detail the plan, opening a month of public comment, before the document starts a slow vetting process that will take months before it winds up before the West Lafayette City Council, which asked for the plan in 2018.

“This is a starting point,” said Ryan O’Gara, Area Plan Commission assistant director. “Everything in this plan, we have to be honest with ourselves, is looking out multiple generations. … But this is our chance to think big, to dream big. And its time for people in West Lafayette to do the same – and to tell us if this really is the right direction for West Lafayette’s downtown.”
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