WL council approves bond deal for Faith Church project

Jun 5, 2012

A local church has financing lined up to build a community center in West Lafayette.

The city council voted four-to-three in favor of the bond issue for the Faith West development. Faith Church will use $7 million in tax exempt bonds toward the nearly $12 million facility.

Council members Peter Bunder, Ann Hunt and Eddie VanBogaert opposed the deal, due to issues of separation of church and state.

Faith Senior Pastor Steve Viars says he respects the difference of opinions expressed and the civil tone of the discussion.

"I wish we could all agree on everything all the time, but that's not possible. I think we're going to move forward as friends and people who are living together in a diverse community in a positive way, so I walk away glad for what happened."

Plans call for a daycare, health center, counseling services and three floors of single unit apartments along Northwestern Avenue, north of Lindberg Road.

Councilor Ann Hunt says this was the most difficult vote she’s made in her eight-and-a-half years on the council.

"The requirements they put on individuals for their counseling and for living in their dorms worry me, but they do some very nice things."

Council members heard nearly two hours of comments from the public before taking a vote.

Gerry Keen voted in favor of the measure, saying he did not see it as crossing the line between separation of church and state.

"I see this more as a partnership, if you will, between the City of West Lafayette and a developer who wants to enhance the quality of life in West Lafayette."

The facility is planned for Northwestern Avenue on about six-and-a-half acres of vacant land.