Carmel mayor: Carousel purchase might not be dead

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Although the Carmel City Council has indicated it will likely remove an antique carousel from a $101 million bond package, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said that doesn’t mean the idea is dead.

A majority of the council stated on the record at an Aug. 28 finance committee meeting that they would like to see the carousel removed from the bond package prior to a vote.

Council President Sue Finkam said the finance committee could make an amendment to the bond package at its Sept. 13 meeting, or an amendment could be made at the Sept. 18 city council meeting.

Councilor Jeff Worrell described the carousel as, “a cancer that needs to be cut out of this bond.”

Brainard told Current he is disappointed but said it’s possible the carousel could be reintroduced at a later date as a separate proposal.

“I’m going to continue to make the point that it’s good economic development for Carmel,” he said.

Brainard said he’s open to the idea of private support to help pay for the project.

Several city councilors said that with some private contributions they would be open to the idea of considering the carousel.

Brainard said there’s no rush to purchase the Dentzel carousel from the Centreville Amusement Park in the Toronto area. The park, which operates on Toronto Islands, saw $8 million in lost revenue because of flood-related damages in 2017 and decided to sell its carousel to Carmel for $3 million to help soften the financial blow.

“I’m not aware that the seller is in negotiation with anyone else yet,” Brainard said.

In the meantime, Brainard said he is focusing on the rest of the bond package, which could reduce in size from $101 million with the carousel removed. There was $5 million in the bond for purchasing the carousel, buying land and constructing a building.

Also in the bond package are several new roundabouts, multi-use paths and a luxury hotel. Brainard said that if approved, he envisions the hotel could be open by March 2019. It would be built along the Monon Trail across from The Palladium. Guests could access the five-story hotel from the fountain level of Carmel City Center where Divvy is located, or from the ground level of the Monon Trail.

“Many of the guests will be able to look right outside their room and see a wonderful view of The Palladium,” Brainard said.

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