Carousel Dreams: Carmel residents should understand the benefits of Mayor’s vision.


Hari Patel

At the City Council meeting on August 21, 2017 when Mayor James Brainard proposed to the city to borrow $76 million via bonds that would finance road and city improvements which included an antique carousel and luxury hotel, Carmel citizens filled most of the seats in the council room. Several of those citizens were upset.

The widespread debate known as “CarouselGate” in Carmel is still dividing the citizens of the city. Throughout several news articles, there have been several hateful comments.

“Too much of our money is being spent on making Carmel ‘fancy,’” a resident said on WFYI, the local NPR affiliate.

“Brainard is spending money like a drunk 3-year old,” a commenter on an Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ) article said.

Despite these negative sentiments, as a resident of Carmel I appreciate what Brainard and the City Council have done for our city in terms of turning our much-neglected center of town into a thriving district with beautiful galleries, restaurants and community events that attract thousands of visitors. Due to Brainard’s contributions and vision for this city, Carmel has been honored with many awards for its high quality of life. As a portion of that vision, Mayor has laid out plans to construct a luxury hotel in City Center as well as bringing a hand-carved, antique carousel to our city.

What many Carmel residents do not realize is that the luxury hotel and the carousel will be completely paid for without increasing taxes, according to Carmel’s engineering administrator Joshua Kirsh; it will instead be funded by bonds which are repaid over time. As the city has grown and made decisions to invest in the quality of life, property tax rates have actually declined.

Carmel’s competition is other world-class cities, not just cities here in Indiana. I urge that you all support the vision of the Mayor and the Council as they continue that legacy.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Hari Patel at [email protected]