West Lafayette businesses prepare for State Street closure

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — With construction set to to begin on the State Street Project this year, businesses are preparing for the closure that comes with it.

“I think we can expect business to drop dramatically,” said Jon von Erdmannsdorff, owner of Von’s.

He said construction in front of his store could affect business like it has in the past.

“The city and Purdue decided that streets needed to be one way here,” von Erdmannsdorff said. “Within a year, about a third of the businesses in the area had gone out of business just because the streets were one way instead of two way. The week after that change, our video business dropped 70 percent.”

With the upcoming closure of State Street, West Lafayette city leaders are working hard to look out for those businesses.

Erik Carlson, the city’s director of development, has been in contact with business owners to make sure they stay in the know.

“There have been kind of wild rumors or crazy thoughts that I’ve heard that some people thought the road itself was going to be shut down for two straight years, which couldn’t be farther from the truth,” said Carlson. “That’s one of the reasons we wanted to get out as early as possible to talk about what the actual construction plan is going to be.”

As News 18 reported, work will begin in April, closing State Street from University Street to Airport/McCormick Road. Then State Street in the Village area will be shut down to vehicular traffic from May to August.

Carlson said the street will still be open to pedestrians during that time.

“We want people in and around West Lafayette on State Street during construction because we have businesses that are integral to our community,” Carlson said.

While he appreciates the efforts by city leaders, von Erdmannsdorff is still concerned about business.

“I think there are the best of intentions by the city to try and make this as painless as possible on the part of the city,” von Erdmannsdorff said. “But it is not going to be possible for that to really happen. There’s just going to be hardships for a lot of people.”

Work on all of State Street will take place until November. In 2018, work will begin on the perimeter parkway, which Carlson said includes Stadium, Williams and Harrison streets. The entire project is set to be complete by the end of 2018.