Carmel begins Monon Greenway expansion

Runners, walkers and bicyclist enjoy the afternoon on the Monon Greenway in Carmel, Ind., on Oct. 13, 2010. AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — Carmel city leaders announced they broke ground Wednesday for a widening and expansion of the Monon Greenway through Midtown and the Arts & Design District.

The expansion’s goal is separate those who are on the trail for leisure and those who are seeking rigorous physical activity, said a news release from the Hamiltocity. The project cost is estimated to range form $20 million to $23 million.

The work will take 18 months to complete, but the trail will remain open during construction.

The 12-foot wide path will grow to include dedicated lanes for cycling, buffer zones, sidewalks, green spaces, one-way streets with additional parking on either side of the trail and a new Midtown Plaza at Fourth Street Southwest near the Allied Solutions corporate headquarters and the Sun King Distillery, both of which are under construction.

“This expansion of the Monon Greenway will become Carmel’s version of beach-front property and is already producing a great deal of interest from the business community and local developers,” Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said in a news release.

Trail users have voiced concerns about congestion in these portions of the Monon Greenway, which extends north into Westfield and also connects to the south at 96th Street with the Monon Trail in Indianapolis. An average of 300,000-plus people use that stretch of the Monon Greenway from Main Street south to The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts.

The expansion also calls for new neighborhood green spaces, trees, arts plazas, benches, kiosks, a spray plaza and a bocce ball court plus connections to destinations and the Midtown Plaza that will feature bicycle parking, public art, outdoor café spaces and other features.