Carmel residents came out in force to oppose the carousel and luxury hotel at the city council meeting Aug. 7, including Ila Badger, a beloved pillar of our community.
While the carousel is clearly frivolous and great fodder for puns, the hotel is a larger concern. The mayor is trying to back the council into a corner by offering only two options: 1) 120-bed boutique hotel requiring $10 million to $15 million to make the economics work, or 2) an eternal pile of dirt in City Center. Any other organization would require competing bids for such a large initiative, particularly one as risky as a niche hotel. To top it off, we are paying $20,000 a month to the consultant pitching the hotel who will also be paid to manage it.
I strongly urge finance committee chair (Kevin) Rider to stop discussion of the hotel until competitive bids are sought and received. If millions of subsidies are offered and the market is as hot as the consultant says, other high-end hotel groups will surely jump in. We may also get a group to build a full-service hotel with twice the rooms for a fraction of the subsidies. Sure, you’d have to give up the dinner club entertainment venue and the Michelin Star chef, but it’s a sacrifice the majority of Carmel residents (and businesses) would probably be willing to make.
Tim Hannon, Carmel