About Jim

Mayor Jim Brainard is Carmel’s first five-term mayor. During that time, Carmel has grown in population from 25,000 to more than 84,000 transforming itself into a successful edge city -- home to more than 40 corporate headquarters. Mayor Brainard has been successful in attracting, expanding and retaining a wide variety of businesses, giving Carmel a diverse employment sector that has been able to weather economic fluctuations and keep the city vibrant and growing.

During his five terms as Mayor, he has been instrumental in the development the popular Monon Greenway through Carmel and the expansion of park land, greenspace, multi-purpose paths and additional trails.

The creation of an Arts & Design District and a new downtown called City Center have helped create a dynamic,thriving city where companies want to locate, where employees want to live, and where families want to raise their children. Mayor Brainard is frequently asked to speak around the world about city planning, redevelopment, and roadway networks.

Mayor Brainard spearheaded the redevelopment in the Old Town area of Carmel into the Arts & Design District, transforming a much neglected original center of town into a thriving district with galleries, restaurants, shops, and community events attracting thousands of visitors each year, as well as gaining the attention of the national and international media.

As part of the City Center project to create a downtown for Carmel, Mayor Brainard incorporated world-class cultural and entertainment venues. The Center for the Performing Arts in City Center includes the Palladium, a state-of-the-art, 1,600-seat concert hall, the Tarkington, a 500-seat proscenium theater, and the 200-seat Studio Theater. Mayor Brainard was successful in gaining the talent of Michael Feinstein as the Artistic Director for the Center as well as integrating the Great American Songbook Foundation into the cultural options at the Center. All of these venues, including an outdoor amphitheater named Rotary Centennial Plaza, opened in 2011.

He has encouraged the construction of roundabouts, which reduced accidents with injury almost 80 percent at intersections when contrasted to signalized intersections. The city now has about 80 roundabout intersections, more than any other city in the United States.  

Under Mayor Brainard, Carmel has been honored with many awards for its high quality of life and environmental initiatives. The Dave Thomas Foundation announced in September 2012 that the City of Carmel tied for the honor of "#1 Adoption Friendly Workplace" in the government industry. In August 2012, Carmel was named "#1 Best Place to Live in America" for cities with a population of 50,000 – 300,000 by Money Magazine.  Recently, the City was awarded first place in the Climate Protection Awards from the U.S. Conference of Mayors for its roundabout program and 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 has been designated a bronze level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.

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. He recently completed a book entitled Carmel, ‘Round About Right which shares the story of redevelopment in Carmel during his administration.

Mayor Brainard is serving as co-chair of the Energy Independence and Climate Protection Task Force and Trustee for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The Mayor has served as President of the Butler University Alumni Association and was included in Butler’s “50 Under 50” in 2004. He taught at the University of Indianapolis and was named one of the “Most Powerful Hoosiers in the World” by Indianapolis Monthly.  He is a member of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church and the Rotary Club of Carmel. He resides in Carmel with his wife Liz, with whom he has four children, Jack, Will, Marie, and Martha.

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