VALPARAISO | After having a front row balcony seat to observe all the improvements being made in the city's downtown, Patrick Lyp is going to step onto the stage to be part of making new things happen as the city's economic development director.
Mayor Jon Costas announced Lyp's appointment Monday. He's filling a vacancy left by the departure several months ago of Matt Murphy, who left to become president of a family-owned business. Lyp, a lawyer with Blachly, Tabor, Bozik and Hartman, said his office overlooks the downtown.
"I could see all the restaurants jam-packed and hear the music from the new park," Lyp said. "I can see where the mayor is taking us for the next few years, and it comports with me as a citizen and I'd like to be a part of it."
Lyp approached the city about the job shortly after Murphy left. He's been with the law firm since 1997 and became a partner in 2003. That's also when he became lawyer for the city's Redevelopment Commission, which helped bring about many of the changes to the downtown and other parts of the city and helped attract new businesses to town.
"I worked on the County Seat Plaza redevelopment, the Central Park project, the Pratt expansion and others," he said. " There is an overlap with economic development and the commission, and a lot of the nuts and bolts I'm comfortable with. A lot of it is going out and talking up what we've done here and finding people who want to buy into the vision."
Costas said others expressed an interest in the job, but, because Lyp has worked with the city for several years and showed an ability to build relationships and deal with the details, the city was interested from the beginning in hiring him if possible.
"It's a transition to come from the private sector and a financial sacrifice, so we had to make sure it worked out for him and his family," Costas said. "It's a position that you want to hire from within because it is close to the mayor and it represents the mayor in a lot of ways. There was a strong consensus on my team that, if we could complete the deal with Patrick, it would be a good thing."
The economic development director's salary is listed as just under $63,000 a year in the city's latest salary ordinance. Lyp will start his new job Jan. 1 and said his first order of business will be to assess "where do we go next."
"A lot of good things are on the plate with the Ind. 49 and U.S. 30 corridors and other things," Lyp said. "It's a matter of taking what's there and picking up the ball and moving forward. The bottom line is jobs. All the city amenities are there, in part, to put our best foot forward when recruiting businesses to expand or relocate here."