By Chris Bavender
The City of Carmel’s Monon Boulevard project has earned the 2019 Community Placemaking Award from Accelerate Indiana Municipalities in the more than 50,000 population category. Carmel received the award Aug. 28 at the Aim Ideas Summit in French Lick, Ind.
The $23 million Monon Boulevard project aims to breathe new life into the Midtown corridor and includes pedestrian, bike and recreational uses, along with community gathering spaces and extended sidewalk space to promote patios and green space.
“For more than 20 years, we have focused our efforts on creating public spaces, welcoming places for people from all walks of life to gather and meet their neighbors,” Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said. “This award recognizes this project and its uniquely situated presence in our more densely populated central core, surrounded by commercial retail, restaurants and residential units.”
The project has already proven to be an economic draw.
“Carmel’s Monon Boulevard project is a strong example of the ripple effects infrastructure investment can have on a community,” Aim CEO Matt Greller stated in a press release. “The project also proves the strong link between a focus on quality of life and economic development. Connectivity is an important feature of any 21st Century community, and Carmel’s project is a trendsetter.”
Brainard said the city has worked hard to support locally-owned restaurants and businesses in the area.
“One of our goals with Midtown is to create a vibrant and bustling corridor that is filled with office workers during the day and apartment residents in the evening, to mix in with the tourists and visitors who are there at all hours of the day – spending money at our restaurants and shops, whose owners have invested in our city,” he said.
A nine-member panel of judges selected this year’s Aim winners from a field of nominees from around the state.