Carmel Continues on Road to Redevelopment

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Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard is asking residents to patronize businesses that he says are under a "tremendous amount of pressure" because of major construction on U.S. 31. He says the "#31BITES" initiative, unveiled today, is designed to boost businesses, which he believes will ultimately benefit from the project. The effort comes as the Indiana University Public Policy Institute begins a study on Carmel City Center redevelopment efforts.

The city is funding the independent study in hopes of measuring return on investment in terms of attracting jobs, residents and tourism.

Indiana University Public Policy Institute Researcher John Marron describes the next stage in the study process.

July 31, 2014

News Release

Carmel, Ind. -- Major highway projects are always a challenge for motorists and businesses and this summer's U.S. 31 project – which the city supports as a vital improvement to the highway through Carmel – has nonetheless been particularly hard on many of Carmel’s restaurants and shops who depend on the corridor for customers.

With that in mind, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard announced today he is taking the #31BITES pledge to support local businesses by making 31 visits over 31 days in August to a local restaurant or shop located along the corridor from 96th Street to 146th Street. The Mayor also issued a challenge to all Carmel residents to join him by taking the same #31BITES pledge as a show of support for local businesses.

While the #31BITES hashtag reflects the emphasis on getting a bite to eat at one of the fine local restaurants for breakfast, lunch or dinner; it could also include a shopping trip to one of the corridor's many retail businesses. Although the mainline U.S. 31 is closed to through-traffic, there continues to be access to all local businesses by using local streets.

"I want to be clear that the city of Carmel supports the state of Indiana's decision to close a segment of U.S. 31 in order to build the new roundabout interchanges, a strategic move that saves millions of taxpayer dollars and makes it safer for highway crews to get their work done without worrying about traffic," said Mayor Brainard. "At the same time, we want to acknowledge the impact this project is having and we want to help by encouraging everyone to support your local businesses."

The city also invites residents to share their #31BITES experiences by posting pictures and comments on social media with the hashtag #31BITES so that others can be inspired to support the businesses along the corridor. The city will then use its Social Media network to further publicize the effort.

"Construction is always tough for affected businesses. The quicker the completion, the easier it is for those businesses to adjust and recover any lost traffic," said Carmel Chamber President Mo Merhoff. "In this case, Carmel’s having frontage roads like Illinois and Pennsylvania streets means finding an alternate way to get to your favorite businesses is still possible.”

"Closing highways is never an easy decision, and we understand the inconveniences experienced during construction," said Brandye Hendrickson, INDOT district deputy commissioner. "We want everyone to know that while a section of U.S. 31 is closed until Thanksgiving, Carmel businesses remain open and so do the local routes to reach them."

The closed section of U.S. 31 will reopen to traffic before Thanksgiving 2014 as construction on the corridor continues through the end of 2015. The New U.S. 31 Hamilton County project is upgrading 13 miles of existing highway through Carmel and Westfield to freeway standards from I-465 to State Road 38. The end result will remove traffic signals, reduce congestion and improve safety on U.S. 31 as well as other local routes, including Main Street and Carmel Drive.

For more information on the U.S. 31 project, go to http://us31hamiltoncounty.in.gov/

Source: City of Carmel

July 31, 2014

News Release

CARMEL, Ind. - Researchers at the IU Public Policy Institute have begun a study of the City of Carmel’s City Center redevelopment efforts. The study will consider the outcomes and impacts of the redevelopment as well as the planning and development process and financing strategy.

The far-reaching study will include a look back at 20 years of redevelopment activity and will include an in-depth study of how the city has changed, including a look at property values, business growth and tax revenues using figures from a variety of sources.

Although this is an independent study being conducted by expert researchers at the prestigious IU Public Policy Institute, the city of Carmel is funding the work through a $92,000 contract from the city's Economic Development budget. After months of looking at data and combing over public records, researchers are getting ready to reach out to local residents and public officials to gather more information.

"It has always been our goal to be responsible with public spending, especially when it comes to investing public dollars in redevelopment projects," said Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard. "We know our redevelopment efforts are working; attracting corporate headquarters and private investment, significant job creation, more residents and more tourism dollars. All of that, plus a tremendous amount of national and regional attention, would seem to indicate that the return on investment from our redevelopment plans have been very positive for Carmel.

"We would like to determine precisely how successful our efforts have been. That is why we sought out the experts at Indiana University to independently study the numbers, study the facts and let us know how those projects have affected Carmel's growth."

Top researchers Drew Klacik and John Marron are leading the study. The IU Public Policy Institute has done many similar projects. Some examples include work performed for Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the City of Indianapolis, Indianapolis Downtown Inc. and the Indiana Motorsports Association.

The IU Public Policy Institute is a collaborative, multidisciplinary research institute within the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs. The Institute serves as an umbrella organization for research centers affiliated with SPEA, including the Center for Urban Policy and the Environment and the Center for Criminal Justice Research. The Institute also supports the Indiana Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. For more information, visit http://policyinstitute.iu.edu/

Source: The City of Carmel