In 2015, Carmel elected officials echoed concerns of several neighbors when a 74-foot tall air-supported structure was proposed for the Carmel Dads’ Club’s Mark Badger Memorial Park on Main Street.
The project didn’t gain the traction to proceed, but now Clay Township is moving forward with plans to build a fieldhouse on the site. It will be part of nearly $60 million in improvements the township is planning to spend on parks and fire stations throughout Carmel.
The multi-use indoor fieldhouse is ‘not even close’ in style to the one proposed previously, Clay Township Board President Matt Snyder said.
“It is a beautiful, solid building with a pitched roof, masonry stone, glass and architectural elements surrounding it,” Snyder said. “It’s going to be gorgeous.”
The facility will allow for year-round activities and include an indoor synthetic field, walking track, locker rooms and sports courts. It is expected to break ground this fall.
Snyder said the fieldhouse would be available for public use and that it could generate revenue for Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation, which could use it for programming.
Carmel City Councilor Ron Carter said at a June 3 city council meeting that he has concerns about the fieldhouse project, much as he did with the previous proposal. He is worried about its potential effect on home values and its location on the northeast side of town.
“We probably do need this for our community and for our athletic teams to continue to be the best in the state, … but it’s something that would fare much better in the center of the city,” Carter said.
He suggested instead the township consider building a fieldhouse at the site of the former Marsh at Merchants’ Square near 116th Street and Keystone Parkway.
“It’s an area that we’re going to have to redevelop at some point in time, and this would frankly serve that purpose,” Carter said. “That old Marsh store is probably never going to have something else in it.”
Snyder said moving the projects to Merchants’ Square or a similar location would be much more expensive and risky than building in Mark Badger Memorial Park, which is already owned by the Carmel Dads’ Club.
“There is some credence to his ideas of trying to revitalize Merchants’ Square, but unfortunately it would take a lot more dollars and be more of a gamble than what our mission is,” Snyder said.
He said he has received positive feedback from nearby residents regarding the fieldhouse.
“We’ve only heard supportive remarks,” Snyder said.
He also said the township is working with an engineering firm to conduct a comprehensive drainage study of Mark Badger Memorial Park and that any project on the land will include improvements.
“When this building is completed the drainage situation will be better than it’s ever been,” Snyder said.