Carmel mayor addresses residents who oppose idea to spend $5M on antique carousel

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For the first time we're hearing from Carmel mayor, Jim Brainard, about his controversial plan to spend $5 million on an antique carousel.

Community members voiced their concerns directly to the mayor as he defended the idea he says will make Carmel a destination location.

The mayor wants the carousel to be in the midtown area or arts district. He believes the attraction would draw visitors.

"It's a relatively minor amount of money when it's broken down between everybody in the city it's $2  per year per person and the idea is to attract people to our downtown area so the businesses there thrive," Mayor Brainard said.

Those figures are over the next 25 years.

In a packed town hall we had a hard time finding people who were on board with buying and maintaining an antique carousel from Canada. What's now referred to as "CarouselGate" is being debated in this midst of another proposal to borrow a $100 million in bonds to fund road projects and build a hotel in the city center.

"This is a government spending people's money not their money and our government in this community has just gone off the rails in terms of buying or trying to buy whatever the mayor dreams up," resident Bill Moore said.

Others didn't seem to mind bringing in new tourists attractions but the majority of people in this room just couldn't get beyond the price tag.

"I actually think the idea of a carousel is a fabulous idea. I think it would be something families would really like but it does not have to be a $5 million antique carousel. So I think it would be fabulous otherwise. I think we should go ahead and do it but not that particular one," Peg Harmon said.

The mayor says a group of men have contacted him about forming the Carmel carousel society.

The proposal will go before the full council August 21st.