Carmel’s West Park planners discuss global trends at public workshop

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Neelay Bhatt, an international parks management consultant and Carmel resident, speaks at the workshop. (photo by James Feichtner)

Neelay Bhatt, an international parks management consultant and Carmel resident, speaks at the workshop. (photo by James Feichtner)

By James Feichtner

With West Park coming up on 15 years of age, the Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation is seeking input on its future. CCPR held a public workshop March 22 to discuss the master plan for the city’s only park west of Meridian Street.

“Part of this plan is to take a look at what we have in the park today that needs to be updated and replaced and repaired,” CCPR Chief Operating Officer Michael Klitzing said.

Attendees at the meeting discussed local and global trends in park systems to better understand what West Park users would like to see. Guest speaker Neelay Bhatt, an international parks management consultant and Carmel resident, spoke on numerous international trends in parks as well as how the changing demographics in Carmel will impact the needs of West Park.

“The reality is that places don’t make people, people make a place,” Bhatt said. “So we’re looking at different people to see the demographics to give a sense of where and what the demographics of the audience is now.”

During a public survey held at the meeting, Bhatt suggested numerous amenities seen at parks around the globe. Ideas included free Wi Fi, camping, indoor and outdoor adventure courses, outdoor fitness equipment and universally accessible playgrounds.

Bhatt explained that a changing demographic will alter the needs of West Park, which will help determine its future.

“We are a changing community, and as we get closer to Indianapolis these are the top four areas that people are from: Mexico, India, Germany and China,” Bhatt said. “All of these constitute users of West Park and the Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation system. So in terms planning for the future, there is going to be a changing audience with different needs, preferences, different experiences that will shape what they want and desire up here as well.”

For more, visit yourwestpark.com

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