Year of change: Carmel residents can expect new city leadership, continued construction in 2024

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The year 2024 is set to be one of change in Carmel, with the city’s first new mayor taking office in nearly 30 years and several new members joining the city council.

In other ways, however, the upcoming year will likely reflect those in the past, with construction continuing or beginning on several redevelopment projects and expansions and renovations to school and park facilities.

The following summarizes several local leaders sharing their thoughts on what Carmel residents can expect in the year to come.

New city leadership

One of the most noteworthy changes to occur in Carmel will happen at noon Jan. 1 when Sue Finkam becomes mayor. She succeeds Jim Brainard, who served in the role for 28 years.

Brainard said he has been meeting frequently with Finkam to help her be as prepared as possible when the transition occurs.

“There’s a lot of day-to-day things that the city council members don’t have a lot of opportunity to see,” Brainard said. “So, I’m copying her on every important email at this point and will be available to help her as needed after my term ends.”

CIC COM 1115 SF Sue Finkam
Sue Finkam

Finkam said she frequently hears that she’s got big shoes to fill (and she doesn’t disagree), but she said she was recently advised to respond by reminding people that she wears “different shoes.” She described her leadership style as different than Brainard’s, but she expects to continue carrying out his vision for many initiatives already underway.

“For me, it’s putting my stamp on ongoing projects when and where it’s appropriate,” She said. “I’ll put my stamp on – In the short term – a lot of the how and the why, and long-term, the what.”

Finkam has already been working to implement her Elevate Carmel plan, a document she unveiled during her campaign that outlines her vision and goals as mayor. Many of the initiatives are expected to be under way in 2024, but Finkam wants to begin her term by listening – first to city staff, then to residents through a communitywide survey. She anticipates launching the survey early in the year and using the responses to refine the Elevate Carmel plan.

Some city staffing changes have begun, with Jim Crider set to become chief of staff – a new position – Jan. 1. Crider has been the city’s director of administration since 2017. Before taking office Finkam began working to find a new police chief to succeed the retiring Jim Barlow. She hopes to select a new police chief in January, but she’s not in a rush.

“Having managed people for many years, I know the pain associated with hiring the wrong person,” she said. “We’re going to be very patient and hire the right person.”

In addition to Finkam, newly elected officials taking office in Carmel Jan. 1 are city councilors Rich Taylor, Matt Snyder, Anita Joshi, Ryan Locke and Shannon Minnaar and city clerk Jacob Quinn.

Elections at all levels

In 2024, Carmel voters will head to the polls for national, state and school board races.

The U.S. Presidential race will be at the top of the ballot in the May 7 primary and Nov. 5 general elections. At the state level, all seats in the Indiana House of Representatives and some Indiana Senate seats will be on the ballot. Hoosier voters will also elect a new governor.

Both at-large seats on the Carmel Clay Schools board of trustees will also be on the ballot.

Construction continues, begins

Henry Mestetsky
Henry Mestetsky

Several redevelopment projects will finish construction in 2024, while others are expected to break ground. Carmel Redevelopment Commission Director Henry Mestetsky said residents can expect to see construction occur in several areas next year.

“Development is happening throughout Carmel’s core,” he said. “It’s not like we’ve picked one place and said, ‘Here’s where we’re going to concentrate development.’”

CRC projects continuing in 2024 include:

CIC COVER 0102 Looking Ahead 4
Construction is expected to begin this year on Monon Square North, a mixed-use project east of the Monon Greenway (which is set to be widened) on the site of the former Monon Square shopping center. (Rendering courtesy of the Carmel Redevelopment Commission)
  • Monon Square North – Construction is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2024. The project on the northwest corner of Range Line Road and City Center Drive includes retail space, multi-family units and a parking garage.
  • Civic Square Condos – Construction is expected to begin in early 2024 on 24 for-sale condos to wrap two sides of the Civic Square garage at Veterans Way and Red Truck Road.
  • Muse – Previously known as The Corner, construction is nearly complete on the mixed-use project on the southwest corner of 116th Street and Range Line Road. It is expected to open in 2024.
  • Carmel City Center – The plan to transform a field into a development anchored by a performing arts campus began in the 1990s and is set to wrap up in 2024 with completion of the Windsor and Wren buildings.
  • Icon on Main – Construction will continue on the mixed-use redevelopment on the southeast corner of Main and Old Meridian streets. The $75 million project includes apartments, for-sale condos, office and retail space, a parking garage and public plaza. Completion is expected in 2026.
  • Old Meridian Apartments – The $60 million five-story, mixed-use development at 12865 Old Meridian St. will likely start construction in 2024.
  • Penn 111 – Construction is expected to begin in early 2024 on Penn 111, a $700 million mixed-use project on the northeast corner of 111th and Pennsylvania streets. The full project is expected to take many years to complete.
  • Proscenium – The Proscenium on the northwest corner of Range Line Road and Carmel Drive has been open for several years, but in 2024 it is expected to be enhanced with a 4,500-square-foot building to house an Italian steakhouse and wine/coffee bar.
  • Proscenium II – Construction on Proscenium II, just east of the original Proscenium redevelopment, is set to be complete in 2024. The project includes luxury apartments, condos, office and retail space and a parking garage. Retail tenants are expected to be announced in early 2024.
  • 1st on Main – Construction on the $40 million mixed-use project on the northeast corner of Main Street and Range Line Road is expected to be complete in early 2024.
  • Magnolia – Construction on the condominium buildings is expected to continue in 2024. The city continues to work with developers on the design of the multi-family building on the southeast corner of Range Line Road and City Center Drive. Construction on that phase of the project is not expected to be under way in 2024.
  • LOR/1933 Lounge – Construction will continue on a three-story building at 111 S. Range Line Rd. that will be anchored by 1933 Lounge.
  • Hamilton Crossing – With work on its hotel and training center complete, Republic Airways is likely to begin construction in 2024 on its relocated headquarters building in the Hamilton Crossing redevelopment project southeast of Meridian Street and Carmel Drive.
  • Mélange – Construction of Mélange, which includes luxury townhomes and flats at Veterans Way and Monon Green Boulevard, is nearly complete and is expected to be fully open in 2024.
  • The Signature – The five-story building on the northeast corner of Old Meridian and Main Streets with luxury apartments, condos and first-floor retail should be complete in 2024.
  • Former AT&T site redevelopment – The former AT&T building at 210 3rd Ave. SW has been demolished, and work on the six-story mixed-use development replacing it is expected to begin in 2024.
  • Other CRC projects – CRC-funded roundabout art on Main Street at Richland Avenue and Lexington Boulevard is set to be installed in 2024. The final classic car-themed sculpture in a series along 96th Street is also set for 2024 installation. A new Palladiscope show will debut in early 2024, and work will continue on the Carmel Clay History Museum, a Clay Township project partially funded by the CRC. The museum is expected to open in late 2024.

Parks projects

Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation expects to begin or complete several projects in 2024, according to CCPR Director Michael Klitzing, including:

  • White River Greenway North Extension – The trail ends at Tall Timber Run but will be extended to 146th Street. The project, which is funded through a $4 million READI grant, also includes a new trailhead with parking, restrooms and an overlook just south of Prairie Trace Elementary School. Trail construction is expected to take six to 12 months, with the trailhead construction lasting 12 to 18 months.
  • White River Pedestrian BridgeThe $11 million bridge over the White River will connect Hazel Landing Park in Carmel to Heritage Park in Fishers. It will help complete an east/west trail route between the Monon Greenway and Nickel Plate Trail. Work is expected to begin in early 2024 and last 12 to 18 months.
CIC COM 1213 Indoor Playground 1
The indoor playground planned at the Monon Community Center is set to feature climbing petals that light up when activated. (Photo courtesy of CCPR)
  • Monon Community Center indoor playgroundThe indoor playground on the west side of the Monon Community Center will connect the existing KidZone to a multipurpose room with designated times for open play. Construction is expected to begin in the second half of 2024.
  • Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Master Plan – The plan, which CCPR aims to update at least every five years, will guide the development and management of CCPR through 2028. CCPR began collecting public input for the plan in 2023, and it is expected to be complete and adopted in 2024.
  • National reaccreditation – The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies will review CCPR in the spring to validate compliance with 154 standards representing national best practices for parks departments. CCPR has been nationally accredited since 2014.
  • West Park shelters – Three new picnic shelters in West Park’s Engledow Commons will be complete in 2024 and available for reservations in time for the summer season.

CCS to complete, begin construction work

Carmel Clay Schools has also been working on several construction projects. Progress expected in 2024 includes:

CIC COM 1130 CCS Natatorium View from Balcony
A view of the expanded natatorium from the balcony. (Rendering by Fanning Howey)
  • Completion of the natatorium complex at Carmel High School, which includes a 50-meter competition pool and therapy pool in a new wing north of the existing natatorium.
  • Completion of the Greyhound Activity Center at CHS. The 85,000-square-foot building north of the football stadium will provide indoor practice space for the marching band and athletic teams.
  • Beginning of a major renovation at Cherry Tree Elementary. Upgrades to the school, which was built in 1989, include expanded office space, a reconfigured entryway, additional classrooms and more.
  • An addition at CHS to expand the polytechnic program will begin construction. The 14,000-square-foot addition on the northwest side of the building will house advanced construction and automotive programs and allow other programs to expand.

Infrastructure improvements

Some major road construction projects are expected to be complete or make major progress in 2024.

Work to reconstruct 3rd Avenue SW between Autumn Drive and 2nd Street SW should be complete, and the reconstruction of College Avenue between 106th and 96th streets should see substantial progress. That project is expected to be complete in mid-2025.

A few of Carmel’s roadways may be named or renamed with a theme.

“I think it would be cool to name a road after each of our Sister Cities, especially in our downtown area near the Monon Trail in the center of our city,” Brainard said.


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