Leaders of Indianapolis suburb delay vote on plans for 100-foot towers at US 31 interchange

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WESTFIELD, Indiana — Leaders of a northern Indianapolis suburb have delayed a vote on whether to go ahead with building two 100-foot towers at a U.S. 31 interchange.

Westfield officials have planned the estimated $3 million project to be a unique gateway for the city as the state completes upgrading the highway to interstate standards through much of Hamilton County north of Interstate 465.

A city council vote on the project planned for this week is on hold until officials collect more public input, Mayor Andy Cook told The Indianapolis Star (http://indy.st/Wa1VVk ).

The Westfield Chamber of Commerce and Hamilton County tourism officials support the plan as a way to help the city stand out to those driving through on U.S. 31, but some residents are concerned about the cost.

Cook said he didn't know when a council vote might occur.

"We'll just see how public opinion goes," he said. "I don't want to go off and do something that the public doesn't — for the most part — support."

Plans are for the towers to rise from a base, made of brick, concrete and limestone masonry at the new interchange being built at U.S. 31 and Indiana 32. At the top, metal cylinders would be lit with LEDs designed like torch flames, meant to represent the lantern in the window that signified the community's role in the Underground Railroad.

Some people say they're concerned about the design.

"I'd like something at a smaller scale that brings out more of a history instead of a modern look that might be out of date in 30 years," Westfield resident Brian Morales said.

City officials say it can afford the towers project from $44 million it received from the sale of its water and wastewater utility in March.

"We are paving streets; we are putting in the roundabouts. We can afford it — that's the point," City Council President Jim Ake said. "What we have here is a wonderful product, but we need to make the world aware of what we have."

Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com

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