Under Construction: Carmel Plans for new construction projects to develop and beautify the city


Armaan Goel and Emily Dexter

Over the coming months, some parts of Carmel will begin to look a bit different, with multiple large-scale construction projects underway or about to break ground.

According to Joshua Kirsh, engineering administrator and city planner, one of these projects, a new ice skating rink, is set to open around Thanksgiving. Kirsh said the rink will be seasonal, meaning it will transform into usable green space for community events in the spring.

“We know that our citizens love to gather. Anytime we give them the opportunity, they turn out in force,” Kirsh said.

However, this area will not simply be an ice skating rink. The city also plans to run a “Christkindlmarket” in the area through the month of December, according to Kirsh. The market will feature vendors selling holiday wreaths and knickknacks, as well as food such as hot chocolate and soft pretzels.

Another set of construction projects in Carmel is the ongoing construction and beautification of roundabouts throughout the city. According to carmellink.com, a website dedicated to informing citizens of the infrastructure improvement program Carmel Link 2.0, roundabouts set to be improved this fall include those at Fourth Street and Range Line Road, 96th Street and Hazel Dell Parkway, Gray Road and Main Street, and Range Line Road and Executive Drive.

In addition to constructing new roundabouts, the city is also working to improve the hardscaping and landscaping within existing roundabouts.

Contemporary sculptor Brad Howe, who designed the stainless steel sculpture at Range Line Road and 136th Street, said the decorations take on an aesthetic role. According to Howe, the nature of roundabout decorations is quite different from that of art housed in museums.

“When you interject art into people’s day-to-day living, you remind them to take a moment and observe,” Howe said. “I think the function of sculpture in public locations reminds people that there is more to life than just working; there’s more to life than just consuming. It’s about the idea of poetic thought.”

However, Kirsh said the decorations’ purpose goes beyond aesthetics. According to Kirsh, these decorations also serve functional purposes, from reducing maintenance costs to calming traffic.

Another construction project that serves both aesthetic and functional purposes is the development of the Monon Boulevard. Kirsh said the construction will widen the Monon trail to include separate paths for different modes of transportation, such as walking and biking. In addition, the expanded trail will feature amenities including a playground and table tennis tables.

According to Kirsh, in addition to its benefits for Carmel citizens, the Monon Boulevard construction also benefits the city economically, as it attracts businesses to the area.

“We all know the Monon trail is fantastic. Furthermore, we now know that that stretch of trail is heavily utilized. What was once considered a fairly blighted kind of forgotten space has been reinvigorated, and where once the rear of a building faced this forgotten space, now we have hundreds of millions of dollars of construction coming out of the ground,” Kirsh said.

With so many infrastructure projects already or soon to be underway in the near future, Carmel residents have much to anticipate. Still, according to Jack Joliet, Carmel Mayor’s Youth Council (CMYC) member and senior, the projects often face resistance. As a result, Joliet said he and Rik Bag, CMYC member and junior, help lead CMYC’s Video Production Committee, a group that makes videos to explain the benefits and inconveniences of local construction to the community.

“(The construction) has been very heated in public debate. I also think it’s annoying that a lot of things are under construction, but I think it’s for the better,” Joliet said. “(Carmel is) growing at an exponential rate, and we’re supposed to keep getting more residents, so (the city is) trying to widen the roads (and) put in more roundabouts.”

Joliet said he and the rest of the Video Production Committee support the mayor’s vision for the future of Carmel, and they hope to clear up some of the public’s misconceptions about development.

“When I graduated (from CHS), I didn’t realize how great Carmel was,” Kirsh said. “A lot of younger people will do something similar. They will leave Carmel thinking there is a lot more that the world has to offer, and then they’ll realize just how good it was in Carmel. The taxes were low, it was safe, it was clean, it was beautiful, (and)the community really cared about the social benefit of things and not just the economic benefit of things, and yet still managed to pull off the economic benefit (as well). I think that as time goes on, there will be more and more benefit to the younger generations.”