Tippecanoe Co. Council reviews master plan for fairgrounds

The Tippecanoe County Council is finally starting to see some numbers and visuals regarding renovations at the fairgrounds.

Posted: Nov. 14, 2017 8:12 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)—The Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds master plan is causing some to experience some sticker shock.

The county wants to renovate the grounds to open it up to various events throughout the year such as weddings, conferences and tradeshows.

The master plan estimates the renovations will cost about $30 million.

Justin Armstrong, one of the people who helped with the master plan, said it was designed not to rule anything out.

"I would expect that as you go along, you remove some items, private business steps in and says, 'Hey, I'll take care of that for ya cause I'll make money on that in the long run.'"

It's the council who decides what to include in the final plan.

Coucilman Bryan Metzger said he's looking forward to that discussion but in order to pay for this, he thinks private partnerships will be necessary.

"I don't think the county needs to pay for the whole thing," said Metzger. "I think there are some folks out there that are interested in being a part of a facility like this."

Armstrong said Tippecanoe County seems to be coming into its own.

"Maybe out of Purdue's shadow, just kind of an outsider looking in," said Armstrong. "And I think that's really exciting, that's pretty cool."

Hired out of Indianapolis, Armstrong has been working on a master plan for the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds for about a year. But it didn't take him long to figure out the need for space to host events. He estimates the county is turning away a potential 100 events per year without proper renovations.

"We need new modern facilities, with internet capabilities, and lots of restrooms and breakout spaces and all of those sorts of things," said Metzger. 

The project is still in the early stages but Metzger agrees, Tippecanoe County is coming into its own. He believes improving the fairgrounds and opening it up to more events year round will only enhance quality of life here.

"It's very exciting, I think it's almost a total remodel of the facility," said Metzger. "And I think as we look into the future, it's where we need to pursue."

The plan recommends three phases so the fair and car sales can continue during construction. But nothing is set in stone yet.

The Tippecanoe County Council and Commissioners will meet soon to discuss which parts of the plan they'll pursue.

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