Carmel, IN Mayor Jim Brainard is Carmel’s first five-term mayor. Under his tenure, Carmel has experienced tremendous growth and prosperity. It is considered one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. The population has grown from 25,000 to almost 80,000 in the last 12 years. Park land, greenspace, and trails have increased from 40 acres to more than 800, including the Monon Trail and Central Park. The creation of a new downtown and the Arts & Design District has breathed new life into forgotten areas of the city. All of these improvements have given the citizens of Carmel increased opportunities for recreation and cultural activities.
Carmel has been honored with many awards for its high quality of life and environment initiatives. Most recently, the City was awarded first place in the Climate Protection Awards from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and as national runner-up of The Home Depot Awards of Excellence in Community Trees. Carmel has also been the recipient of the Sterling Tree City Award, honorable mention for Municipal Excellence from the National League of Cities and been designated a Bicycle Friendly City. Mayor Brainard is often requested to speak about Carmel’s initiatives at regional, national and international conferences.
Mayor Brainard has implemented numerous environmental initiatives for the City of Carmel. He has encouraged the construction of roundabouts in place of traditional signaled intersections in Carmel, which reduces vehicle emissions. The City now has more than 50 roundabout intersections. Mayor Brainard has signed executive orders mandating the use of hybrid or flex-fuel vehicles for city operations when available and recently enacted a “No Idling” policy for city employees. He also encouraged the City’s Utilities Department to develop the technology to use recaptured methane gas to power its wastewater treatment facility as well as repurpose its biosolid waste into high quality fertilizer (topsoil), eliminating the need for its transport to and disposal in a landfill. He has also initiated testing the feasibility of utilizing wind energy as a future power source for the plant.
Mayor Brainard’s academic background includes a Bachelor of Arts in History from Butler University and Doctor of Jurisprudence from Ohio Northern University. He also received a diploma from the Oxford Institute on International and Comparative Law from the University of San Diego.
Mayor Brainard has spearheaded significant beautification and economic development projects. One of these public private partnerships is the creation of a true downtown for the City of Carmel, known as Carmel City Center. The focal point of this cultural and entertainment district will be the state-of-the-art Regional Performing Arts Center, which includes a 1,600-seat concert hall of superb acoustical standards and a 500-seat multi-purpose theatre. Carmel City Center will also feature a public green/outdoor amphitheatre, a boutique hotel and numerous restaurant and retail venues. The Performing Arts Center is set to open in Fall 2010.
The economic vitality of Carmel is also a primary concern of Mayor Brainard. His comprehensive economic development plan has encouraged the growth of established companies located in Carmel, and has brought in many new high-tech and life sciences firms. His diligence in developing the city helped its Meridian Street Corridor become home to the second largest concentration of office workers in the state of Indiana.
Mayor Brainard’s achievements and commitment to public service include serving as co-chair of the Climate Protection Task Force and the Advisory Board of Directors for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Mayor Brainard has also served as an active committee member and Assistant Scoutmaster in Troop 120, chartered to the Rotary Club of Carmel. Mayor Brainard’s two sons, Jack and William, earned the Eagle Scout rank in this troop. Mayor Brainard earned his Eagle Scout ranking in 1972 as a youth in Bristol, Indiana, and in 2007, the Crossroads of America Council honored Mayor Brainard with The Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.
Additionally, Mayor Brainard has served as President of the Butler University Alumni Association and was included in Butler’s “50 Under 50” in 2004. Mayor Brainard has also taught at the University of Indianapolis and coached youth sports. He is an active member of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church and is an accomplished musician. Mayor Brainard is an active member of the Rotary Club of Carmel. He resides in Carmel with his wife Liz, and their children, Jack, Will, Marie and Martha.