By Adam Aasen
The Carmel Redevelopment Commission is looking at options for one of the last undeveloped locations in the Old Town area.
The parcel, located on 7th Street NW, has been put up for bid with an appraised value around $203,000. The CRC received only one bid for the property – for $65,000 – from Justin Moffett’s Old Town Design Group.
The CRC could have accepted the lone bid, even though it was less than the appraisal average, but voted to reject the bid so it could be brought back to the Carmel City Council for approval. CRC Director Corrie Meyer said this is being done to promote communication and transparency.
On April 21, the city council approved transferring the property to the CRC for sale. City Councilor Luci Snyder said this is because it’s easier for a redevelopment commission to negotiate real estate transactions than part-time legislators.
Old Town Design Group owns the adjacent ground to the South and is developing single-family cottage homes similar to what they’ve done at Blackwell Park. The plan would be to expand to the north if they can purchase the grounds.
In order to improve the area and meet the CRC’s desires, Moffett said he is proposing a small pocket park – a playground area with swings – about the size of two-thirds of a lot. It would sit at the corner of 7th Avenue NE and 3rd Avenue NE. He said he would also propose increasing connectivity in the area between those two streets.
Meyer said it’s possible that the CRC would be happier with the lower bid price if there are improvements made to the neighborhood.
Prior to his interest in the site, Moffett said he heard concerns about the environmental impact of construction but claims a lot of that was hearsay. Neighbors said it was a dump site and documents confirm that might have been the case.
A 1998 letter from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management stated that the site used to be, “filled with what (experts) have described as basically unregulated materials.”
The letter said there was no objection to covering the site with at least two feet of soil to close off the area. Letters say the materials were mostly construction debris, concrete, asphalt and brick. It claims there were no batteries, chemicals, old paint cans or liquid waste found.
Moffett said he saw these reports and then conducted a phase one environmental study which found no problems. The study included multiple soil borings. Snyder said she reviewed the situation and believes there’s no environmental concern.
Meyer said the CRC is aware of the dump site past and, “the appraisals completed by the City of Carmel took into consideration all issues that could impact the value of the property.”
The CRC and the city council will wait 30 days and then negotiate with Old Town Design Group or other parties.