Firm that helped develop 2 popular Carmel parks selected to create Bear Creek Park master plan


Bear Creek Park is on nearly 27 acres on the southwest corner of 146th Street and Shelborne Road.

The firm that helped develop Carmel’s Central Park and West Park will create the master plan for the city’s newest park. 

The Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation board on April 13 authorized paying SmithGroup up to $125,000 to create the master plan for Bear Creek Park, which is on 27 acres on the southwest corner of 146th Street and Shelborne Road. The master plan will incorporate feedback from the public and other sources to create a roadmap for future development of the park. 

CCPR Director Michael Klitzing said SmithGroup has previously done quality work in Carmel, but that’s not what set its proposal apart from the other 10 firms bidding for the job. 

“They really raised their game, not that they haven’t done a phenomenal job with the two previous parks (in Carmel),” Klitzing said. “They made no assumptions it was a given they were going to get this job. They brought a very creative approach.” 

That approach includes opening the park to the public before it is developed so residents and stakeholders can be familiar with it before providing input for the master plan. Possibilities include the creation of temporary trails and infrastructure and using the park for programs or summer camp field trips. 

Klitzing said SmithGroup plans to explore the history and ecology of the site and engage Carmel residents of all ages and diverse backgrounds as the master plan is prepared. 

The master planning process is expected to begin in May or June and last 12 to 18 months. Development of the park is expected in three to five years.


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