Carmel Clay Parks and Clay Township Reimagined

5/5 - (2 votes)

November 2022

With the support and assistance of the Clay Township Impact Program, Clay Township and Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation have helped improve the community with a strong focus on parks, community amenities and public safety. The [Impact] program has provided benefits for all [Carmel Clay] Township residents, businesses and schools. I spoke with Clay Township Board Member Matthew Snyder, Michael W. Klitzing, Director of Parks and Recreation/CEO, and Richard F. Taylor III, President of Carmel/Clay Board of Parks and Recreation, about how the collaboration and master planning efforts have contributed to the legacy of the excellence that residents and guests are accustomed to throughout Carmel Clay Township.

Carmel Clay Parks Reimagined

An Overview of the Clay Township Impact Program

Taylor shared that Snyder has been delegated the authority on behalf of the township trustee and township board to run and manage the Clay Township Impact Program, as it was Snyder’s “brainchild.”

Carmel Clay Parks Reimagined
Richard Taylor

Taylor added, “It has been an honor working with Matt [Snyder] and Clay Township to reimagine six parks. This type of collaboration between government entities is rare. The success of our efforts is evident by the smiling faces of those who are using the new amenities at each park. I feel grateful to be a part of this team.”

What literally began as an idea on the back of a cocktail napkin, Snyder shared, has morphed into remarkable projects that have positively impacted the community, such as the indoor fieldhouse at Badger Field.

“What kind of started as a side project to help the [Carmel] Dads’ Club was also an opportunity for really cool joint projects funded solely by the Township with the Parks Department,” Snyder said. “We are always trying to find ways for joint use and symbiotic relationships and assets [where] more than just one organization benefits from a taxpayer-funded facility, and that’s what kicked off the [Impact] program.”

Carmel Clay Parks Reimagined
Matthew Snyder

Snyder continued, “Through speaking with Rich and Michael and identifying the needs of the parks, we came up with a list, and the same thing with the [Carmel] Fire Department — we came up with a list of needs. Because if we wanted to do an impact program, I wanted it to be big. However, I am a huge believer that when a tax dollar is spent, it needs to impact the gross majority of everybody that put that money into it. It needs to impact all of the residents of Carmel and not just one segment, and that’s how we approach these individual projects. Parks and the fire department are no-brainers — they impact everybody, no matter where you live in the community.”

Snyder complemented the master planning of the Carmel Clay Parks organization.

“The master planning process through the parks was wonderful,” Snyder stated. “The Township did the engagements of the designing and bidding out and ran the projects but with the understanding that these are truly Parks projects, and the final says and decisions were all through Michael, Rich and their organization. I’m very passionate about the impact program, and I think the community as a whole should be very excited, as we did all of these projects without impacting the tax rate at all. That was very important to us.”

Klitzing returned the compliments and appreciation for the Township’s support and collaboration.

“I want to recognize that Clay Township has always been such a significant partner in creating the park system that we have in Carmel today,” Klitzing expressed. “Without the partnership between the city of Carmel and the township, we wouldn’t have the two-time national gold medal award-wining park systems that we have, and without the generous funding from Clay Township, we certainly wouldn’t have any of it. So, the Clay Township Impact Program just builds upon that strong legacy of support that we have received, and it’s a testament to the Township leaders, past and present, that they have recognized the transformative power of parks and recreation in the community and the impact they have.”

Carmel Clay Parks Reimagined
Michael Klitzing

When it came to assessing the needs and planning out the projects, specifically the six parks that were on the list of projects that needed upgrades and/or replacements, Klitzing explained, “A lot of it ties back to the time when Matthew and the Township board were considering and figuring out the strategies for CTIP, and at the same time, we [Parks & Rec] were finishing up our [5-year] comprehensive Parks and Recreation master plan. This plan is really the guiding principles that establishes the big-picture vision for the parks over the next 5 years from a development as well as a management standpoint and incorporated public input, is reviewed and then adopted by the parks board.”

Klitzing concluded, “We worked with engineering and architects that have worked with the park system before and did a comprehensive assessment of all of our capital assets to identify: ‘What shape are they in?’ and ‘When can we expect to make major upgrades and replacements of these capital assets?’

Our park system was established in 1991, and we just celebrated our 30th anniversary last year. A lot of our parks were built 20 years ago, and 20 years is about that magic cycle where playgrounds need to be replaced, splash pads need to be replaced and a lot of infrastructure needs to be upgraded. So, the timing of this [impact program] was perfect. We very quickly were able to identify a lot of the things that needed to be replaced to make sure that they remain safe for the public to use and inviting, and this [program] allowed us to do it.”

For more information on Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation, visit carmelclayparks.com.

Carmel Clay Impact Projects

*For a complete list of projects, visit claytownshipimpact.com.

CARMEL CLAY COMMUNITY BUILDING

A new 5-story building is under constructed to house fire department administrative offices and a fire department museum that will contain the “Survive Alive” educational exhibit, teaching young visitors about the dangers of fire and how to react in a fire emergency. There will also be space made available for community gatherings and events.

FIRE STATION IMPROVEMENTS

Safety improvements to fire stations across the Township include various interior and exterior facility renovations and equipment upgrades, including a new ladder truck and fire suppression system.

Fire Stations 41, 42, 46

FIBEROPTIC RING

The expansion of the existing fiberoptic ring within the Township will improve safety by allowing for faster, more reliable communications between our schools, Township facilities and the Carmel Clay Fire Department.

CARMEL CLAY HISTORICAL SOCIETY – HISTORY MUSEUM

PARK IMPROVEMENTS

Improvements to the following parks include updating the walking trails, lighting, aquatic features, Wi-Fi/security, playgrounds, dog park, restrooms, parking lots and park entrances.

Carey Grove Park

Flowing Well Park

Meadowlark Park

West Park

Central Park

Inlow Park

River Heritage Park

CENTRAL PARK ENTRANCE IMPROVEMENTS

Roundabouts implemented on 111th Street at Westfield Boulevard, Central Park Drive and College Avenue will allow for safer access to Central Park and will the improve traffic flow in and around the Homeplace area.

CLAY TOWNSHIP CHILDREN’S PAVILION AT COXHALL GARDENS

The addition of a large pavilion to this existing park will allow for child-friendly activities and will support various children’s programs.

INDOOR FIELDHOUSE AT BADGER FIELD

The construction of a new multi-use, indoor fieldhouse at Badger Field will allow for year-round sports activities for Carmel Dads’ Club participants, as well as the overall community.

Indoor synthetic field

Locker rooms

Basketball / sports courts

JAPANESE GARDENS AND MONON GREENWAY

The existing Japanese Gardens will be expanded and made more accessible by the connection to the Monon Trail, City Hall and Carmel Drive. The Monon Greenway, started in Midtown Carmel, will continue between City Center Drive and Carmel Drive. The Japanese Gardens designer is a world-renowned garden designer: Hoichi Kurisu from Japan.