A philosophy of trying to “do things just a little bit better than everyone else” has led to extraordinary business, cultural and academic opportunities, and earned Carmel the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 Community of the Year award.
Under Mayor Jim Brainard’s leadership, the community has reinvented itself from a small town to one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, with a population of about 85,000.
Among Carmel’s achievements:
- Serves as the national headquarters for more than 75 leading companies, including many in the software and health care industries as well as MISO (Midcontinent Independent System Operator), which manages the delivery of electric power across much of North America.
- Investments in infrastructure, such as the community’s 90-plus roundabouts, have increased both safety and efficiency. Carmel has more roundabouts than any other city in the country.
- New residential and business complexes recently completed and/or underway. Just last year, nine new or expanding companies brought in 1,390 new jobs; and plans were announced for a new Midtown development that will include 285,000 square feet of office/commercial space and 270 residential units in the heart of the city.
- Nationally recognized school system, both in terms of academics and athletics. With 5,000 students, Carmel High School Principal John Williams declares that “size equals amazing opportunities for our kids.” And a Carmel Clay Parks system that won national accreditation, one of only three in Indiana to do so.
- Named (in 2015 alone) one of the safest small cities for retirement (Badcredit.org), best town to raise a family (NICHE; MarketWatch) and best place to get a job in Indiana (Zippia). Was also named by CNN Money Magazine as the Best Place to Live in America (2012) and the No. 3 best in 2014.
“Carmel’s success comes down to three things: vision, partnerships and perseverance,” observes Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar. “City leaders have, time and again, avoided taking ‘the easy route.’ They’ve embraced challenges and taken risks that have transformed Carmel from a good community to an outstanding city. It’s highly regarded across the country and beyond as a city that ‘gets things done.’ ”
“For the past 20 years, our city has been on a mission to reinvent what it means to live in a suburb. We have worked hard to avoid the pitfalls of traditional suburban sprawl and instead embraced a shared vision of redeveloping our urban core, encouraging a walkable, sustainable community and challenging developers to pay close attention to architecture and density to maximize both the beauty and the value of their projects,” Brainard says. “This honor from the Indiana Chamber is further evidence that we are succeeding and need to continue working hard to build the best city in America to live, work and play.”
A focus on the arts, fitness and family also helped Carmel earn the Community of the Year award. The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts, the Arts and Cultural District and the Monon Community Center are among the popular attractions for residents and visitors.
Jim Burrell, longtime resident and retired Carmel Clay Schools administrator, is an avid community volunteer. He sums up his impressions of Carmel this way: “My wife and I have seen it grow from kind of a sleepy community to something that is really incredible. We’ve seen so much happen here. It’s a community we’ve loved and have been a part of.”
The Community of the Year award will be presented at the Indiana Chamber’s 26th Annual Awards Dinner on November 4 at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. More than 1,500 business, political and community leaders are expected to attend.
Highly-acclaimed political strategists James Carville and Karl Rove will headline the event, presented in partnership with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. The reception is at 5 p.m. with dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tables of 10 and individual tickets are available at (800) 824-6885 or at www.indianachamber.com/specialevents. Sponsorship opportunities also remain; contact Jim Wagner ([email protected]) for details.
The celebration of Hoosier success stories will include presentation of three additional awards: Business Leader, Government Leader and, for the first time, the Indiana Chamber Foundation Indiana Vision 2025 Dynamic Leader of the Year. Indiana Vision 2025 is the Chamber’s long-range economic development plan and the new award will emphasize entrepreneurship and others facets of the Dynamic and Creative Culture driver.
Media interested in covering the event should contact Rebecca Patrick at (317) 264-6897 or [email protected]
Past Community of the Year recipients:
2010: Terre Haute
2001: Greater Lafayette
1999: Fort Wayne
1993: St. Joseph County