Carmel committee increases proposed bond amount to fund new parking garage

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The Carmel City Council’s finance committee voted May 25 to recommend increasing the amount of a proposed $8 million local income tax bond to pay for a new parking garage north of the Carmel Police Dept. headquarters.

The committee voted for net proceeds of the bond not to exceed $9.7 million, the estimated cost of a three-floor, 300-space garage. The city’s financial consultants will finalize the full bond amount, which is expected to be between $11 million and $12 million, before the city council votes on it.

A parking garage was not initially included among the various projects proposed as part of $125 million in bonds brought before the council in late 2020, but as the committee discussed one of the largest proposals — an expansion of CPD headquarters — City Council Vice President Kevin “Woody” Rider said he’d like to see expanded parking to accommodate it.

Rider initially suggested a single level of raised parking over the existing lot, but research showed that option would cost $3.8 million and ultimately add only 21 spaces. So, the city began working with a parking garage consultant who determined at least 137 additional spaces would be needed to accommodate the CPD HQ expansion, which includes relocating the city court to the building.

Carmel Redevelopment Commission Director Henry Mestetsky presented two options to the finance committee: a 2 1/2-level, 229-space garage for $8 million or a three-level, 300-space garage for $9.7 million. He said both options allow for condos to wrap the north and west sides of the structure.

Rider said it makes sense to build the larger garage because it will help accommodate future development in the area and a number of large events that happen nearby, such as CarmelFest and the Christkindlmarkt.

“To add (another level to the garage) later would be almost impossible. To get it now is the time to get it,” he said. “Anytime you have the opportunity and you don’t seize it, you’re going to regret it later.”

Mestetsky said if the council approves funds for the garage, he would like to see it built by the time construction begins on the CPD expansion, which is expected in the summer of 2022.

The city council is expected to conduct a public hearing on the revised bond amount at its June 21 meeting.


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