Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation begins gathering public feedback on Bear Creek Park development


By Jillian Kurtz

Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation held its first public input meeting on Sept. 1 regarding the development of Bear Creek Park at West Park’s Jill Perelman Pavilion.

CCPR is working with PROS Consulting, Synthesis and SmithGroup to develop plans for the park, which is on 27 acres on the southwest corner of 146th Street and Shelborne Road.

Representatives from the different partnering groups presented information on the progress of Bear Creek Park and their organization’s role in the project.

“We have the ability to dream what a new park is going to be,” Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation Executive Director Michael Klitzing said during the meeting. “A park isn’t just something for today or tomorrow, it’s something that’s going to be around 100-plus years from today, so we’re creating a vision for the future.”

Proposed features include a restored prairie, wooded areas, playgrounds, access to Bear Creek, trails and splash pads, although amenities haven’t been finalized. Community input is still being collected.

“I’m hoping it’s very natural with very few buildings and lights,” Carmel resident Debbie Winchester said. “I like the fact that there’s an oak grove there that will support wildlife, because I think that’s one of the things about Central Park that’s so appealing.”

The parkland is on the northwest side of Carmel between neighborhood developments.

“We have so many houses going in that we are losing the wildlife and the nature, the things that make our city comfortable,” Winchester said.

After the presentation, attendees provided feedback by placing sticky notes on display boards placed around the area to show which vision for the park they preferred. Event organizers gathered input on recreation, play, gathering, connecting, ecological, cultural and educational options.

“I’m excited that we will have something in our own little corner,” said Baljit Bhatt, a Carmel resident and parent. “As my kids are getting older, I want them to be able to ride to a neighborhood park safely and freely. I really want (the park) to represent the cultural growth of Carmel as well.”

CCPR will provide additional opportunities for the community to be involved in the planning, including on-site visits and more public input meetings.

Feedback can be submitted through an online survey at