Mayor Brainard is a visionary who has secured a legacy similar to Indy’s Mayor Hudnut. However, his latest $101 million bond proposal – including the carousel and a city-owned luxury hotel – shows that he has become oblivious to fiscal responsibility and the growing public opposition to unnecessary spending.
The carousel could be a nice addition, but he should have sought out a donor or donors (individual and corporate) to finance it. His defense of spending $38 million to build and operate a “4.5 to 5 star” hotel is also concerning. He argues that corporations demand it but provides no details on which corporations refuse to move here or threaten to leave without it.
He also contends the city needs to pick up the tab because the private sector can’t justify the economics, and he dismisses the alternative of an upper midmarket business hotel (Marriott, Renaissance) as not “prestigious” enough. The reality is most businesses and all government contracts have caps on allowable hotel rates, so a luxury hotel would not serve business interests, nor would it provide an affordable option for leisure travelers wanting to stay downtown. I hope the city council pushes back appropriately.
Tim Hannon, MD, Carmel