A totem sign that has puzzled some drivers near the Carmel and Westfield border should soon make a little more sense.
The Carmel Board of Public Works on Aug. 7 approved $64,125 to change the north face of the sign along US 31 near 146th Street to read “Carmel” instead of “Westfield,” which is currently on the north and south sides of the totem.
Many southbound drivers questioned why the sign appeared to welcome them to Westfield as they were entering Carmel. In late 2018, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said he discussed the issue with Westfield Mayor Andy Cook and that Westfield officials were open to changing the sign if Carmel paid for it.
The City of Westfield spent nearly $300,000 on the totem, which was installed in late 2018. The sign is within Carmel city limits on land owned by the Indiana Dept. of Transportation, which gave permission for Westfield to place the sign there. Previously, Westfield officials said they let Carmel officials know before construction that the sign would say Westfield on the north and south sides, but Carmel officials said they were only aware of the city name on the south side.
The $64,125 will cover fabrication and installation of the new panels, which are illuminated at night. Indianapolis-based Signworks, which designed and built the original totem, estimates the project will take eight to 12 weeks for fabrication once Carmel approves the final plans.
The totem was a result of a two-year initiative in Westfield to create a welcome sign to greet drivers along U.S. 31. It is made out of Corten steel with a natural patina to make it appear rustic.