Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation seeking feedback on 3 plans proposed for Bear Creek Park 


Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation is seeking feedback on three proposals for the development of Bear Creek Park on 27 acres at the southwest corner of 146th Street and Shelborne Road.  

Park designers with consultant SmithGroup presented the proposals and gathered public input at a community meeting held Jan. 25 at West Park. CCPR and SmithGroup will continue accepting feedback on the proposals online at A video of the presentation is available on the website as well. 

CCPR will use the feedback gathered to develop a master plan, which will be presented to the parks board for input and final approval. The final plan may include elements from more than one proposal. 

Each proposed plan features development in approximately 20 percent of the park with the rest remaining ecological areas. 

The following is a summary of the proposals: 

CIC COM 0208 Bear Creek Proposals Bear Towers

Bear Towers 

The Bear Towers proposal features two towers that would rise above the tree canopy. Accessible by ramps rather than stairs, the towers are inspired by historic fire towers in state and national parks and provide a bird’s eye view of the park. 

“How you see the site when you’re above the site is very different than when you’re in the site,” said Jacob Blue, a landscape architect at SmithGroup, adding that the towers could include flags or flashing mirrors for park guests to use to communicate between them. 

The Bear Towers plan includes a single large building with heating and air conditioning near the north end of the site. It also includes a play and spray area and could include zip lines or a high ropes course. A picnic area is proposed on the south end of the site. 

The creek that winds through the park would be largely unaltered in this proposal. 

CIC COM 0208 Bear Creek Proposals Braided Bear

Braided Bear 

The Braided Bear plan features a “squirrel‘s eye” view according to Gregg Calpino, SmithGroup principal, with elevated pathways winding through the tree canopy. It could include slides or zip lines between levels. 

It also includes the creation of braids and wetlands off of the creek which could be explored by an expansive boardwalk system that allows guests to get near the water. Certain areas would be designated for creek stomping. 

The plan proposes several moderate- to small-sized conditioned buildings, creating a mini-campus rather than a single large facility. 

CIC COM 0208 Bear Creek Proposals Wandering Bear

Wandering Bear

The Wandering Bear proposal includes altering the creek to make it longer, which would lead to a more winding trail option compared to the other plans. Play areas, which could include hillside slides and natural climbing structures, could be placed in oxbows of the creek. Guests would be encouraged to venture into the creek to explore.  

Bathrooms are proposed on the north and south ends of the site, with the remaining facilities being open-air structures. It would not include a roadway connection through the park. A picnic grove is proposed on the southern portion of the site.