Brainard hints at future projects in state of the city address

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Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard gave his annual state of the city address in front of 600 people Wednesday afternoon. No new company relocations or specific projects or developments were announced, but it sounds like several things are on the horizon.

Unknown business announcement

Brainard said a “major expansion announcement” is expected within the next few days but didn’t reveal any other hints about what it might involve. According to a list compiled by city staff, more than 2,300 jobs have been added to Carmel since the mayor's last state of the city address. However, some of the companies Brainard listed included expansion announcements so those jobs might not exist yet.

Continuing to add to City Center

Carmel’s massive mixed-use development isn’t done yet. Brainard said 11 new structures are still planned for City Center, including a parking garage, hotel and more residential and commercial space. The city had been considering whether to include a convention center for the area but has shifted gears to a conference center instead. Brainard said that would be more feasible because it would result in fewer semi-trucks hauling large pieces of equipment to the space.

Redesigning Rangeline Road?

It’s possible. Brainard discussed transforming the roadway into a boulevard-like street with two wide lanes in both directions and parking along the side. It’s currently two lanes in each direction with a middle turning lane through the heart of the city. As Carmel’s Midtown project gets underway, decisions will likely have to be made about the road. Developer Justin Moffett told Carmel Plan Commission members recently that there has been talk of designing a roundabout for the Rangeline and 4th Street intersection, which would serve as the entrance to the area. But it’s all just talk for now—no funding has been allocated, no timeline is in place and only preliminary designs have been created.

More space for police and court

Brainard called the Carmel Police Department “undersized” and said a plan to expand it is under discussion. No specific square footage or project details were mentioned, but Brainard did add that City Court would move into the police department as part of the plan.

Technology upgrades

Carmel is jumping on the growing bandwagon of redesigning websites. (Zionsville and Noblesville are working on it and Hamilton County launched a new site this summer.) The city is also working on a new mobile app to connect visitors and residents with restaurants, shops and events and is partnering with Google for 360-degree tours inside some of the city’s attractions, including the Palladium.

Paving the way

Fun fact: Carmel will add its 100th roundabout next year and will probably maintain its record as the U.S. city with the most roundabouts. Brainard also said the city should find out in two weeks whether it will receive a federal transportation grant to help fund the $32 million teardrop roundabout at 96th Street and Keystone Avenue. The city has requested $19.4 million.

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