Q&A: Mayor Brainard looks forward at 2015


With the start of a new year – a year that includes a mayoral election – the Current in Carmel caught up with Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard to ask him about his plans for 2015.

What projects are you excited about most going into 2015?

“For one, getting the City Center completed. More buildings are going to be built. Lots of work involved there. And Midtown. It’s exciting to see City Center connected to the Arts and Design District. We also have proposals on the Party Time Rental site. Our goal of walkable, pedestrian-friendly downtown is coming to fruition and the recession is over. It’s going to be a good year. Most cities struggle to get any investment in their central city and here we are seeing tens of millions of dollars going into ours. We’re really fortunate. I think it also shows our decision to use the arts as an economic development driver is paying off. People want to live near The Palladium in the center of our city.”

How do you think the opening of U.S. 31 will affect local businesses?

“It’s going to be great. First of all, we have ninety corporate headquarters and the ability to connect to the northern part of the state will be tremendous. I’m from the northern part of the state originally and it would take me three hours to do the drive. Now it’ll be two. Once the rural areas raise their speed limits eventually, we’re going to see a day when South Bend is an hour and half away. That’s going to do wonders for commerce. The retail areas are going to do much better when the construction is over. It’s always hard to do retail near a construction site.”

What are your hopes for the upcoming election?

“I enjoy the management part of my job a lot more than I enjoy the political side and so it’ll be nice when it’s over with. I want to get a council of people who care about the city and who are serious and professional about their disagreements. There will always be disagreements, but we want a council with background in management and who know how to compromise and move the city forward.”

How do you think the election will affect the process of governing in 2015?

“Usually, election years are a bit easier to govern since everybody is on good behavior.”

Are there any political races or hot issues that you’ll keep an eye on in the statehouse or in D.C.?

“We keep an eye on where our money is being spent in D.C. and we work hard to get as much of it back as we can. And we’re pretty successful at that. On the state level, Carmel pays a tremendous amount per capita back to the state, so made the argument many times that some of the discretionary funding ought to come back to Carmel because that’s where people paid it. We’ll continue to have those discussions, particularly with INDOT (Indiana Department of Transportation).”