Park visitors sit on a bench at Meadowlark Park

A Defining Moment

Championing a new era for our park system

Even the most innovative, well-planned playground will reach its end-of-life after 20 years. To put that in perspective, in 2003 (or 20 years ago) Apple launched its iTunes Music Store and the social network service Myspace was founded. It would be an understatement to say things have changed—culturally, socially and economically —since then. The same can be said about the purpose and expectations of public parks.

“Park systems are an integral part of any community,” shares Michael Klitzing, director
for Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation (CCPR). “I think in recent years the impact of local parks and recreation facilities has become even more apparent. People are looking to their park agencies to further expand their offerings to meet community challenges like safety and accessibility.”

Since 2019, CCPR has received over $20 million from the Clay Township Impact Program (CTIP). With this investment, CCPR launched its Reimagining Parks initiative which included the renovation of six existing parks throughout Carmel and Clay Township. In fall 2022 CCPR reopened the final reimagined park for the public to enjoy.

“We are incredibly grateful for the funding provided by the CTIP and the work that the Clay Township Board, the Park Board and the Carmel Clay Parks team put into reimagining our parks,” says Rich Taylor, president of the Carmel/Clay Board of Parks and Recreation. “The updates made to the parks reiterate our dedication to listening to our community’s needs and developing world-class park experiences for our community.”

Each park project included input from community leaders, stakeholders, community organizations, the public, and more. CCPR is proud to have worked with industry leaders in playground manufacturing, architecture and landscaping
at each reimagined park.

“We faced a unique moment in time for our community during the Reimagining Parks initiative,” shares Klitzing. “It was an opportunity to make park improvements to better serve our community. This new era of our park system will be one that is safer, more accessible and highly innovative. We look forward to the many new memories and experiences that will be had at each of these reimagined parks.”

Master Plan—looking forward to 2024-2028

CCPR’s first priority is determining how to best serve an ever-changing and growing community. Every five years the department develops a new parks and recreation master plan, which is a comprehensive look at the future of CCPR.

Each master plan incorporates input from elected officials, community leaders, stakeholders, community organizations, the public and more. Constituents provide feedback which allows CCPR to create a snapshot in time of the wants and needs of the community.

Be part of CCPR’s next chapter! There will be several opportunities for the community to give feedback throughout the master planning process. Stay tuned to for more information!

graphic outlining updates to each of the six reimagined parks

Written By: Emma Laux

Emma is the Marketing & Communications Manager for Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation. She’s a storyteller and lover of words. Emma has written the creative for numerous marketing publications and campaigns.