What’s next for Carmel in 2015?
- Mayor Jim Brainard has already announced he will seek a sixth term in May, but no opponent has officially been announced yet. City Councilor Rick Sharp said he will make a decision shortly, but if he decides to not run for mayor then he will probably run as an at-large councilor instead of running in his district.
- Republican Party activity Laura Campbell announced she will run in Sharp’s Northwest district.
- Jeff Worrell, member of the Carmel Redevelopment Commission, said he’s interested in running for City Council, presumably against Luci Snyder in the Southeast district, but no official announcement has been made.
- In the Central district, incumbent Eric Seidensticker will face off against Bruce Kimball, a supporter of Brainard.
- All other council incumbents plan to run again as well.
- One of the biggest changes in 2015 will be the reopening of U.S. 31. Indiana Dept. of Transportation officials told Current that not only will its renovations improve traffic flow, but the fact that construction will be over will be a boon to struggling local businesses affected by detours. Portions of the road have opened already, but construction on the Carmel contract between the I-465 interchange area and the Monon overpass will continue and is anticipated to be open to traffic by the end of 2015.
- The Palladium is bringing some big names to the stage in 2015 with Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock on April 18, Itzhak Perlman on April 26 and Vince Gill on May 1.
- Other acts include Emerson String Quartet on Jan. 23, comedian Jim Belushi on Feb. 8, Tracy Lawrence on March 6 and Michael Feinstein on March 22.
- Carmel Community Players will feature some well-known shows such as August: “Osage County in February” and “Rock of Ages” in July.
- The Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre will present Spamalot in April.
- Actors Theatre of Indiana will be putting on a performance of Xanadu in May.
Plenty of new restaurants and businesses are scheduled to open in 2015.
- Danny Boy Brewery, a new restaurant from the people behind Brockway Public House, will open in the Village of West Clay just in time for New Year’s.
- Langdon’s Irish Pub, located next to Matt the Miller’s Tavern at the Carmel City Center – and has the same owners as Matt the Miller’s – is scheduled to open.
- Also expected in 2015 include: Flix Brewhouse in Merchants Square, Pizzology at the Village of West Clay, Giant-Eagle Marketplace at the Bridges, The Range Pet Lodge on N. Range Line Road, Drury Hotel, River Road Shoppes and Ricker’s Gas Station.
- A new Aldi supermarket will open at the beginning of 2015.
The city’s Independence Day festival, CarmelFest, will be led by a new chairman this summer. Jeff Worrell has stepped down after 22 years at the helm. The next chairman will be Gary Sexton, a local businessman who among many ventures owns several Sports Clips locations. Worrell will remain as the coordinator of the fireworks celebration while promoting Spark Button fundraising. Jack Badger will be stepping down from his longtime role selling Spark Buttons.
- Other festivals to look for include Art of Wine on July 18, the Chinese Mooncake Festival on Sept. 12, PorchFest on Sept. 13, the Carmel International Arts Festival on Sept. 26 and 27 and Oktoberfest at the Carmel City Center on Oct. 2.
- The Farmers Market starts its summer season on May 2.
- The City Council recently voted 4-3 to approve a $20 million bond for a new parking garage that should thrust forward development on the second phase of the Carmel City Center.
- Two key City Center buildings, The Nash and The Mezz, should be completing their construction in early spring and work could begin next year and the next buildings in the overall 10 new buildings totaling 575,000 square feet. The CRC claims this will mean $57 million in anticipated annual income from all households in the new residences, $71 million in assessed value increase and 570 new jobs on campus.
- Justin Moffett’s Old Town Design Group announced its plans to develop the Midtown section of Carmel with a $100-million-plus project that would feature up to 300,000 square feet with both office and light retail space. There would be 250 to 300 residential units and a nearby parking garage for 700 to 900 cars. That parking garage would likely be paid for using tax increment financing, which could spark a political debate in 2015, given the recent 4-3 vote for the City Center parking garage.
- The project is in the early zoning stages and hopes to break ground in the summer if all goes well with the Council. Construction could begin on a dual-lane Monon Trail, but discussions are still being had about what all is exactly beneath the trail. The CRC is trying to sell some property just west of Moffett’s development and a buyer could be announced in early 2015.
- Several developments will break ground in the Old Meridian District in early 2015, including Grand & Main (formerly ‘the District’), the Olivia (formerly KG Main) and Meridian & Main Retail. The Olivia, backed by Keystone Construction, which is also responsible for Sophia Square, will use a 25-year bond – worth no more than $3.8 million – to help pay for the $30 million apartment complex site. There will be a 75-25 split of tax increment finance funds to pay this debt.
- A trio of housing developments should be completed/under construction at the southern central portion of Carmel near Range Line Road and the county border: Sunrise on the Monon, The Seasons and Monon Lake.
- Other new developments include a remodel of the Kroger on Range Line Road, new apartments on the ATAPCO site off of Carmel Drive and the new Mormon Temple.
- (USE ATAPCO PHOTOS and Map HERE, and KROGER photo here)
- Cutline for Atapco map: The $75 million Atapco development on Carmel Drive east of Guilford Road. (Submitted map courtesy of Atapco Properties)
- Cutline for Lakeside Corporate Center: Lakeside Corporate Center, will remain and become the center of the proposed development for the Atapco apartments. (Submitted photo)
Carmel Clay Schools are taking a step forward in strategic planning toward the future of the school district. According to Supt. Dr. Nicholas Wahl, the schools are looking to develop a shared vision and using parents, community leaders, teachers, administrators and students in order to obtain qualitative feedback toward this plan.
He said strategic planning is a “disciplined effort to produce fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization is, what it does and why it does it.”
Wahl said there has not been a long-term strategic plan in place for Carmel Clay Schools.
“We needed to be more systematic and strategic as we look at the student demographic in Carmel/Clay schools,” Wahl said, “Now we are moving into a different phase as we look at the student population. When we do redistricting it needs to be a longer plan.”
Decisions that will be made within the strategic plan will be researched based and supported by the stakeholders involved. Opportunities to participate in interviews, focus groups and/or surveys will be given to anyone who chooses to be involved within the community.
Carmel Clay Schools is partnering with ECRA Group, Inc., an established leader for 35 years in working with school districts for strategic planning purposes. This group will come and personalize a plan while supporting the plan with research findings that soon allows for immediate implementation.
ECRA Group, Inc. charges $185 an hour for assistance with a strategic plan.
The strategic planning for the next five years will be announced to the public in April 2015. The information will be released through a strategic plan report after being presented and reviewed to the Board of Education.
Excited dogs have been tugging their leashes waiting for the opening of Carmel’s highly anticipated Central Bark Park in 2015.
“There are quite a few people very eager to start using it,” said Carmel Clay Parks Director Mark Westermeier. “So I’m sure the community as a whole will be very interested.”
The park will be on 116th Street on the north side of Central Park and to the west of Range Line Road. A new entrance will be built to the north of Central Park with a new parking lot adjacent to the new dog park. It’s expected to be open by mid-summer 2015.
The park will be approximately two acres and will be fully enclosed by a four foot tall fence. A double-gated entrance will ensure dogs cannot escape easily as visitors come and go. Many existing trees will be preserved and incorporated into the dog area. There will be separate areas for small and large dogs, drinking water fountains for dogs and humans, a picnic shelter, restroom facilities and a new open meadow. There are preliminary plans on how to expand the park someday and cyclist and pedestrian connectivity is built into the plans.
There will be a membership fee, but Westermeier said pricing, rules and regulations will be finalized before the park opens.
New turf is currently planted and an irrigation system will be installed to maintain the green space.
The parks department is seeking corporate sponsors for the dog park. Interested parties can contact Lindsay Labas, marketing director for the parks department, at email@example.com or 573-4020.
- The parks department will also work to repave the Monon Greenway from 96th Street to Carmel Drive in the spring and plan to also repave from 1st Street NW to 146th Street in the fall.
- Construction should begin in the spring on a playground in Central Park that will open in the fall. The playground will be between the College Avenue entrance and the bridge on the south side of the road. Parks Director Mark Westermeier said he’s only working on a master plan for the 50 acres adjacent to the West Park and he’ll be seeking community input as they develop that land.
Did you know that in 2015, the federal government is likely to start taxing online purchases? According to a study done by Columbia University: “Many online merchants that do not collect sales tax have a pricing advantage over traditional stores that must, under law, collect sales tax. Online shoppers are supposed to submit payment for tax due, but almost no one does. As a result, many online purchases are tax-free and cheaper than in-store purchases.” Although the bill to stop this was stalled in the House of Representatives in July, it will be revisited in 2015. To read more about tax changes and loopholes in 2015, go to Dough page…
Adam Aasen, Sophie Pappas, James Feichtner and Amanda Foust contributed to this report.