On Wednesday morning, the West Lafayette Redevelopment Commission agreed to spend up to $ 100,000 to purchase the keeper’s house. The sale is expected to close in late April or early May. The city does not buy the cemetery.
Ultimately, according to a city plan, the house will house the West Lafayette History Research Center, a collection now housed at the West Lafayette Public Library. Work to raise funds to restore the house and turn it into a research center – the cost of which has not been estimated, according to Erik Carlson, the city’s development director – will fall in part to a new team of citizens called the Community. Historical Project Support. .
“As you walk up and down Salisbury Street you look at a few iconic structures, and the gatehouse is probably the most dominant,” Mayor John Dennis told the redevelopment committee on Wednesday morning.
“I had the experience of going through it a few weeks ago, and to say it is in urgent need of repair is an understatement. If we don’t do something quickly, this house is going to fall, ”Dennis said. “It really helps us with the philosophy, at least during my tenure as mayor, that we are not a throwaway community.”
Larry Oates, chairman of the West Lafayette Redevelopment Commission, said he considers the keeper’s house a wise purchase.
“Being able to preserve something like that really shows that not only is the community looking to the future with projects like (the $ 120 million) the State Street Project and building new (things) that we don’t forget our roots. , and we’re going to protect those things that are precious to the citizens of this community, ”Oates said.
The move comes less than a year after West Lafayette worked at
register and relocate the Morris school, a one-room school that stood at the corner of Cumberland Avenue and US 231. The brick school was moved from land being prepared for a Franciscan facility in St. Elizabeth to a new municipal park a quarter of a mile east on Cumberland Avenue.
Beverly Shaw, West Lafayette’s director of quality of life, said the first job will be to “button it up” to make sure the caretaker’s house is not exposed to the elements. No timetable for the renovations or for the new research center was offered on Wednesday.
As it did with the Morris School, the town will seek grants and donors to help bring back the Keeper’s House from Grand View Cemetery. (Shaw said the city will be making more formal efforts soon, but donations for the warden’s home rehabilitation may be sent to city care at 711 W. Navajo St., West Lafayette, 47906.)
West Lafayette Public Library director, is part of the 20-member community history project support team, which will meet for the first time on Friday.
He said the library and the city started calling for artifacts from the city and a collection of memorabilia from residents three years ago. This produced a cache that includes everything from six-term Mayor Sonya Margerum’s papers to restaurant menus that have come and gone.
Schenkel said an endowment from Sonya and Dale Margerum would be enough to help pay a quarter of staff time to work with the collection, including when she moves to the Keeper’s House at Grand View Cemetery.
“It’s part of a growing awareness that West Lafayette has a history,” Schenkel said. “It’s not just this place that has arisen and has no past. What is happening with the keeper’s house is just wonderful, I think.
Darcy Weston was unable to make it to the Morton Center on Wednesday morning. She had dates, not to mention an all-day date with the riding mower.
But she applauded – in fact applauded – when she learned that a sale she was working with the city with was finally public. It meant he was moving forward.
This meant that the stone house at the top of the hill on Salisbury Street was going nowhere.
“What a great day,” said Darcy Weston. “I can’t wait to see what it is when it gets refurbished. I can’t tell you how excited I am.
Contact Journal & Courier columnist Dave Bangert at 765-420-5258 or [email protected]