What does Carmel still need?


Some exciting things are coming to Carmel in 2015.

For the longest time, people said Carmel needed a dog park. Well, Carmel Clay Parks is opening one this year. People said there needed to be a movie theater near Carmel’s downtown. Flix Brewhouse is opening off of Carmel Drive in a few months.

And there are plenty of other things you can no longer say that Carmel needs. Two new donut shops. Two new comic book shops. At least two different tattoo shops. Carmel is certainly growing.

So I thought it’d be fun to try to answer the question: What does Carmel still need? I contacted some people to hear some feedback and this is what I’ve heard.

Note: I’m not saying whether any of these developments should be private or publicly funded. I’m just discussing some of the things that people said they would like to see in Carmel.

MORE MEETING SPACE – As Carmel keeps attracting new companies to move to the area, there will be a great need for meeting spaces. Companies will want to have banquets and luncheons and although there are many options right now, there’s always a need for more. Southside Indianapolis institution Jonathan Byrd’s catering and banquet service is transforming the former Fountains site into a new facility. There’s even been talk in the past of building a large convention center in Carmel to attract top events here locally.

EMPTY NESTER LIVING – Again and again, the Carmel City Council has asked home developers to consider increasing options for the elderly and empty nester populations. Residents like buying large homes for their families, but when the kids move out it might seem like too much space. And as residents get older, it makes more sense to have homes with bedrooms on the first floor and easy walkways. There’s been an increase in such development, such as the Sunrise on the Monon planned unit development, but councilors say they always want more because they don’t want to see longtime Carmel taxpayers to move to nearby Fishers or Noblesville. City Councilor Ron Carter said it’s important to consider empty nester homes need to be affordable because homeowners don’t want to obtain a new mortgage when they enter retirement. They would prefer the empty nester homes to at least equal the cost of their previous houses, if not less.

HOMES/ENTERTAINMENT FOR MILLENNIALS – As more businesses relocate to Carmel, there might be an influx of young millennials working in the area. There will need to be more housing options and amenities to accommodate this growing population. Home developers are already constructing high-end rental units for these millennials, such as The Seasons, a new project from Barrett & Stokely and Pittman Partners. Millennials might also desire more bike trails and night life to accommodate their lifestyle. We’re not talking about turning the Carmel Arts & Design District into Broad Ripple, but currently there are only a few late-night offerings. Even if a 25-year-old is a serious professional, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to have a drink or stay out past 1 a.m. on the weekends. These kinds of businesses could possibly be incorporated in Carmel’s nightlife without turning the area into a noisy, dangerous, irritating place to be.

PUBLIC SPACES – Carmel doesn’t lack for parks and gathering spaces, but as the population increases there is always a growing need for places to have outdoor events. New buildings – retail and residential – all are urged to consider incorporating plazas and parks where people can stroll and enjoy each other. Mayor Jim Brainard said he could even envision outdoor ice skating or a place where people can play checkers on a park stool. Public art – another need that some have identified – could be incorporated into these spaces. While some people don’t like seeing taxpayers pay for art, that’s beside the point. I’m not arguing about who should pay for these things, all I’m doing is identifying the needs.

BAKERY – One of the most frequent suggestions I’ve heard is a small, locally-owned bakery that sells breads and rolls. There are plenty of bakeries that sell cupcakes, cakes, cake balls and donuts, but there really isn’t a locally-owned place to get a fresh baked baguette to go along with your meat from Joe’s Butcher Shop. Of course, I could imagine that would be a tough business to be in and there’s probably a reason why grocery stores and corporate chains are now the most common places for fresh baked bread.

TYPES OF RESTAURANTS – The most common request I hear is more ethnic restaurants. Many people in Carmel have traveled the world. They are generally more educated and affluent. That would make you think that they would be receptive to more adventurous cuisine. People say they want a Greek restaurant. A hibachi-style Japanese steakhouse. A French restaurant or café. A German restaurant. Indianapolis boasts cuisine from Korea, Ethiopia, Cuba, the Caribbean, the Philippines, Brazil and more. Some tell me they would like to see more upscale fine dining where they can enjoy a fancy dinner. Others just say “more locally owned restaurants” in general.

– Bike sharing program
– A cigar shop
– More gift shops along Main Street for tourists
– A beer garden
– More live music venues
– More bike paths
– A corner grocery and produce vendor
– Business incubator space/building
– A healthy fast food restaurant with a drive-thru
– A botanical garden
– Chuck E. Cheese
– Japanese tea house
– Public transportation



  1. What does Carmel need? More considerate drivers instead of the hordes of self-centered arrogant asses who feel entitled to drive like brainless twits.

  2. Level the playing field for all businesses in Carmel. Promote local small business and Publicly recognize the Charitable activities of of these local small businesses. Eliminate special treatment for preferred areas of the city. There should not be high rent areas in which the developer pockets the return on investment and yet is subsidized with ‘extra’ city services available only to select parts of the City..

    Sell the value of the city and the unique opportunities that our limited supply of develop-able land provides them. That for a limited time they can have the opportunity to share in our future success. Let developers pay their own way. Once we are at build-out the opportunities for development will be greatly limited. We should leverage this scarcity of land and quit with the giveaways.

    Carmel is a great city. Yet I look at the small businesses downtown and they all seem extremely fragile in the event of an economic downturn. Same with the retail at City Center. There are no places to buy necessities within walking distance of our most walkable areas.

    As far as courteous drivers, everyone needs to take a breath before they put the seat belt on and realize you will get there just as fast if you drive safely. We generally follow too closely as was demonstrated in the discussion of 126th and Auman where it was claimed the Stop Sign was causing people to rear end each other. These accidents occur only because people are not controlling their vehicle and/or are distracted.

    In some areas I think speed limits need to be raised especially on the east side where many areas are 30 with no houses fronting or with direct access to those roads. 35-40 would not be the issue it is in the Central DIstrict. As we get more density around City Center and midtown it may be necessary to reduce speed in some of these denser areas.

    I know that we have our problems but there are even more solutions. The trick is can our current Administration effectively make the best decision over the long run for the largest number of people? Do they have what it takes to effectively navigate through the maze of possibilities without falling into their well worn paths of Tax giveaways and special city services for select areas of the city?

    We have already had a Poseidon adventure 3 1/2 years ago. Can they keep us off the rocks this time?

  3. Carmel needs another middle school and high school and probably another elementary school or two on the west side of town!

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