The city of Carmel has agreed to buy about 12 acres adjacent to the Mansion at Oak Hill along 116th Street near Hazel Dell
Parkway for a new well field.
The popular conference and catering facility agreed to sell the land, part of what’s known as Northern Beach, so that Carmel’s water utility can keep pace with a growing population. The city paid about $430,000.
The utility plans to spend $25 million to build a new water treatment plant at 106th Street and Gray Road that will handle the water. The facility will be the city’s fourth water-treatment plant.
The Northern Beach property is labeled as groundwater-rich on old Department of Natural Resources well logs, and recent tests show it could yield up to 8 million gallons per day—about half the projected eventual water demand for Carmel.
Once Carmel is built out, the city’s water utility expects to serve about 45,000 customers using an average of about 16 million gallons per day. Currently, the utility delivers about eight million gallons per day, all of it from wells. It also is taking over service for about 8,000 former Indianapolis Water Co. customers.
“We have to find additional groundwater for future growth,” said John Duffy, the city’s director of utilities. “Hopefully, within a year or so we’ll be live with at least one new well (at Northern Beach).”
Carmel’s existing wells, most of which are just west of the White River, are far from dry, but rapid growth demands more sources of water, said Mayor Jim Brainard. He noted that water rates in Carmel are just one-third those charged by IWC.
The new wells should not affect business at Oak Hill, a 1940s mansion that was moved in 1990 from a farm west of River Road to its current home southeast of 116th Street and Hazel Dell Parkway. The 15,000-square-foot, southern colonial mansion now hosts a variety of events, from concerts to weddings.
A portion of the land Carmel is buying is part of a floodplain so development for any other purpose would have been difficult, if not impossible, Duffy said.
“The owner was happy and we’re certainly happy,” he said.
Stan Elser of Grubb & Ellis Harding Dahm & Co. represented the seller, Mansion Real Estate LLC. Carmel represented itself.