There are some things that people that will never agree on in Carmel. Some have been big political issues, such as Carmel’s debt and taxes. Some people are excited about new five-story buildings being constructed in Carmel while others see it as the end of the small-town feel. Even things like roundabouts have become hot button issues. Some people love driving through them and other people find them confusing and too expensive.
Tired of the fighting? I’ve come up with a list of 10 things that almost everyone can enjoy in Carmel. I’m sure some naysayers will find points to argue, but I feel these are generally agreed upon good things about living in Carmel.
10. Roads during the winter — While some people might argue about the cost or if the city puts too much salt on the roads, you have to admit that the public roads are usually pretty clear in Carmel, even after a snowstorm. Compare it to just south of 96th Street and you’ll see a world of difference.
9. CarmelFest — While some people might be mad about the candy-throwing ban during the Fourth of July parade, everyone seems to enjoy this two-day Independence Day festival in the center of Carmel.
8. Local theater — Between the Actors Theatre of Indiana and the Carmel Theatre Company, there are quite a few talented actors in this city.
7. Carmel Farmers Market — OK, I know that longtime City Councilor Ron Carter is the founder and maybe you like him or don’t like his politics, but you have to admit that the Carmel Farmers Market is pretty neat. Great vendors with fresh food, and it’s just a relaxing way to spend a Saturday morning.
6. Acoustics in The Palladium — Another one, I know some people might get off topic about. Yes, some people think The Palladium was too expensive or that it should have been funded differently. But the acoustics? They’re some of the best in the country for classical music. It’s pretty breathtaking to watch Joshua Bell or Yo Yo Ma perform in the venue.
5. PorchFest — It’s a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Again, the organizer is a city councilor, but this has nothing to do with politics. It’s a fairly inexpensive event to put on. Neighbors allow their front porches to be used and bands play there. Only recently did they start paying performers, and even then it was because of a sponsorship from Huntington Bank. Can’t argue with that.
4. Carmel High School athletics — CHS has won 145 state championships; 133 of which are IHSAA titles, 8 Indiana High School Soccer Association titles, and four Indiana Cheerleading Association championships. The Hounds have won state championships in 18 of the 20 sports offered at CHS. In addition to 144 championships, CHS has been the state runner-up 63 times since 1966. Girls’ swimming has been the big winner with 30 consecutive state championships, going back every year to 1986! Girls’ Cross Country has titles every year since 2010, and since 2006 16 of the 20 sports offered have won a state title. Impressive.
3. It’s pretty safe — I can walk my dog at night and not have to worry about someone pulling a gun out on me. We don’t have murders or robberies very often. Even fatal traffic accidents are lower due to roundabouts.
2. Carmel Clay Parks — One of the best in the state. Not only is it nationally recognized and accredited, but the amenities are amazing. The Monon Community Center offers almost anything you’d want and it’s far cheaper than a membership at local country clubs. The city pool is a blast, and the dog park is clean. You’d think a parks system like this would be a drain on the city’s budget, but it actually raises a lot of revenue through Monon Center memberships and daily passes to the pool. It’s essentially revenue neutral, and you have to love that.
1. We’re all glad that U.S. 31 construction is over. — Yes it was a headache and some businesses suffered. But we’re all happy that it’s finally done and we can get around easier.
BONUS PICK: Flix Brewhouse, in my opinion, is one of the best movie-going experiences in the city. I’m not saying it because of the food, the services, the size of the screens or offerings of movies. I’m saying it because people don’t talk in this theater. Unlike other theaters that have people talking the entire time or teenagers being rowdy, there’s none of that there in my experience. That’s partly because the servers there keep an eye on the atmosphere. Only once did I have someone talk during a movie at Flix, and I go there a lot. So that’s a pretty good track record in my opinion.