West Lafayette looking to create new parks master plan

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – The city of West Lafayette has nearly doubled in size, and that means changes could be coming to the city’s parks and recreation system.

“We need to do a new master plan for parks and recreation particularly since we added all of this huge area,” Superintendent Joe Payne said.

With more land in the city of West Lafayette after the recent annexation comes more opportunities.

“The presumption is that if you a green space you can put up a swing in there or a bench in there or some playground equipment and you can have a park, but it’s unfortunately not quite that simple,” Mayor John Dennis said.

Dennis said just like any other aspect of the city, a master plan has to be carefully thought out. He said the city will work closely with Purdue and neighbors near the newly annexed parts of the city.

On top of expanding existing trails, Payne told News 18 last week that residents want more green space.

“The open space we have is high premium,” Payne said. “There are more folks wanting to use the open space in Cumberland Park, another park we got to create from an old pasture, and there are possibilities somewhere out there near that 231 corridor.”

Dennis said unique ideas are also welcome.

“I’d like to see some creativity. We’ve had conversations about the possibility of another water feature somewhere within the city. The possibility of having another rec center somewhere within the city. I’d like to explore those options as well,” Dennis said.

Before work begins on the master plan, the city needs to find a new parks and recreation superintendent. Payne is retiring this week. Dennis said the city will launch a nationwide search for a new superintendent. One of the main questions during the interview process will be what ideas they for the new master plan they’ll be responsible for putting together.

“What parks will be done, how we can utilize our trail network to support our parks system and, probably most importantly, to make sure that we can have the proper type of facilities that would engage the new component of our population base — the student population,” the Mayor said.

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