Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard was talking quickly Tuesday evening. That was no surprise — although he is nearing the end of his fifth term, and currently seeking a sixth, he remains the region's most ambitious and idea-driven leader . . .
We were sitting at an outside table at Scotty's Brewhouse on Main Street. A few feet away, the Monon Trail bustled with families on bikes, twentysomethings out for a jog, and older couples taking a stroll. Main Street restaurants were doing a brisk business, and the scene seemed to endorse the vision Brainard had set in motion years earlier: To create a suburb that has not just great schools but also its own core and identity.
At one point, Brainard stood and pointed toward a large-scale redevelopment project south of Main Street, saying it would provide the much-needed connection between Main Street and the cluster of performing arts facilities several blocks away. He grew animated while talking about investments in parks and his efforts to better connect the city with trails. He talked to a man at the next table about the city's new bike-share program. And when a pair of high-schoolers asked to take a photo with him, he told them he hoped they'd stay in Carmel.
"You get passionate about things," he said. "We've worked for 20 years to try to make this place special and you just care so much about it. You have a lot invested in it. You care about the city, and you care about the people." . . .
But our conversation this week felt different because it came as my wife, my preschool-age son and I prepare to move to the city Brainard has led for so long. The decision to leave our beloved Indy neighborhood for Carmel wasn't an easy one, but it was made easier because of the work Brainard has done to create a vibrant city next to a much bigger city . . .Oh, isn't that special? Who needs a publicist when you have the Star' Matt Tully on your side? Tully remarks at what a popular man Brainard is and what a shame it would be if that awful primary opponent, Rick Sharp, should happen to win because too many people choose to stay at a home and not come out to vote in next month's May primary election, a less than subtle hint to Democrats to cross over to vote in the Republican primary to ensure the RINO mayor is re-elected to a sixth term in office.