Several Carmel parks have been targeted for significant upgrades thanks to the Clay Township Board approving resolutions Feb. 5 to fund approximately $18 million for improvements. Final approval is expected at the board’s March meeting.
Major improvements are planned at West, Inlow, Meadowlark, Carey Grove, River Heritage and Flowing Well parks.
“All of these parks are at end-of-life with playgrounds, trails and parking, so it frees (Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation) up to help build their coffers to maintain what is the No. 1 parks department in the country,” Clay Township Board President Matthew Snyder said.
With portions of staggered payments for the Monon Community Center coming off the township’s debt load, the bonds to finance the improvements are not expected to raise the tax rate.
Township and CCPR officials looked at the CCPR master plan to determine which projects to fund. All of the affected parks are set to receive parking lot upgrades. Other improvements include:
- West Park – Playground and splash pad replacement
- Meadowlark Park – Playground replacement, new bridge and fishing pier, signage
- Carey Grove Park – Playground replacement, community garden, trail enhancements, signage
- River Heritage Park – Playground upgrades, trail enhancements
- Inlow Park – Splash pad replacement, playground upgrades
- Flowing Well Park – Path expansion, wetlands remediation, bank stabilization
Design work is expected to begin on the West, Meadowlark and Carey Grove parks projects this year with construction likely to being in 2020. Design work for the other parks is expected to take place in 2020.
“What makes it really exciting to me is (the township’s allocation) frees up some of our existing funding sources so we can move them up on the schedule,” CCPR Director Michael Klitzing said.
He said top priorities are the White River Greenway expansion, enhancements to the roundabout within Central Park near the 111th Street entrance and development of a master plan for the undeveloped Cherry Tree Park.
Snyder said historically the township has handled funding of capital improvements in parks and that CCPR manages the projects.
“We have a lot of trust in them. In this situation we’re the facilitator of funds, and they will be taking a lead on programming and what suits them best,” he said. “They’ve got a method that works, and we don’t want to impede their method.”