The Final Chapter – The Carmel Grain Elevator

The week of the March the 24th was quite a week.

At Monday’s City Council Meeting I made a presentation to the City Council and the Mayor.  At the end of the presentation I was able to make public an offer that the President of Indiana Landmarks Marsh Davis had made to Mayor Brainard.  Indiana Landmarks would provide a grant to study the feasibility of preserving or reuse of Carmel’s grain elevator.

On Wednesday NUVO published an article written by art critic and feature writer Dan Grossman.

On Wednesday a gracious Carmel Redevelopment Commission (CRC), at the request of Commissioner Dave Bowers, suspended their scheduled agenda so I could address the CRC.  Video of this presentation and discussion can can be seen at this link starting at 37:27.

On Thursday after I had, via email, submitted my presentation to Carmel City Councilors and CRC Commissioners I received an extensive response from the President of the CRC, Mr. Bill Hammer.  This email letter contains information regarding the feasibility of the reuse of the grain elevator.

Mr. Hammer’s letter is quite thoughtful and well written.  Being a civil engineering graduate and having some experience in structural matters (while with the Indiana Department of Transportation I did design bridges and inspected and analyzed existing bridges for their structural and hydraulic capacity; the biggest bridge that I inspected was the old reinforced concrete U.S. 40 bridge over White River in downtown Indianapolis) I recognize the merit, plausibility and concern expressed in Mr. Hammer’s commentary.

The studies that were done in the past that are referenced by Mayor Brainard in a recent news article, by Mr. Olds in the CRC meeting and Mr. Hammer in his fine letter along with other materials such as photographs, written histories, oral histories, etc. need to be gathered into an archive for the Carmel grain elevator.  This way future generations can see and learn about the history of Carmel’s grain elevator and its architecture as well as understand the reasons it was razed.  I am willing to provide photographs that I have made for this archive and would also appreciate the opportunity to have on permanent display a selection of my photographs and writings on the grain elevator.  I will be contacting the CRC to see what the possibilities are.

Needless to say I wish the end result as to the fate of Carmel’s grain elevator would have been different.  Certainly I would have liked to see the Mayor take Marsh Davis’ (President of Indiana Landmarks) offer of a grant to examine all possibilities of preservation.  It would have been wonderful for the grain elevator to remain as monumental piece of sculpture so that others would have had the opportunity to be inspired and interpret it in the same way many of the world’s greatest architects and artists have interpreted America’s grain elevators.  But it is not to be.

I need to thank a great many people that have been on this ride that have supported me, provided information and done a lot of work throughout this effort.

And thanks to those that were willing to step up to the plate and, even at the last minute, have a dialog about Carmel’s grain elevator.

So here goes:  Thanks to my wife Julie, Mike and Karen Stroup, Kiel Kinnaman,  Marsh Davis, Vess von Ruhtenberg, Natalie Ingle, SoHo Cafe, the Carmel City Council and the Carmel Redevelopment Commission, especially Commissioner Bowers and President Hammer.  And a special thanks to everybody that supported this effort via Facebook, Twitter, telephone calls, emails and conversations.

I very truly hope that this issue has brought to light the importance of Carmel’s government enlisting the thoughts and ideas of its interested and talented citizens into its plans to make Carmel a better city and to make Carmel a city in which its citizens have ownership and pride.

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