This is a very special column because I’m happy to announce that on Dec. 4, 2018, my wife Nicole and I welcomed our first child into this world. She gave birth to a beautiful little girl we’ve named Madeline Elizabeth Aasen.
Although it’s still very new, becoming a father changes everything.
Immediately I bonded with her and felt an instant connection. I’m so excited to see her grow up and I’m trying my best to soak up every moment in the mean time.
Of course, this column isn’t about me. It’s about my thoughts and observations on the City of Carmel. So in order to tie this momentous occasion into the column’s focus, I’ll tell you a little about why I’m excited that we’re raising our child in Carmel.
One of big reasons why people move to Hamilton County — and Carmel specifically — is because of the school system. My wife is a Carmel High School graduate (I graduated from North Central, just down the road) and my mother in law is a retired CHS teacher. I’m a board member for the Carmel Education Foundation and I currently participate in a program called Expedition, that informs members of the community about everything going on in the school system. So I’ve become familiar with how great Carmel Clay Schools are. The district is rated A by the Indiana Department of Education and has been awarded 10 National Blue Ribbon Awards. CHS was ranked as the fifth best high school in the state for 2018, according to U.S. News and World Report.
Almost every year, Carmel ranks among the state’s safest cities. In November 2018, a Web site called Safewide analyzed crime data and ranked Carmel as the third safest city in the state, with Fishers ranking second and St. John taking first. In 2017, the same Web site listed Carmel as the fourth safest city in the entire United States for raising children. The Web site looked at graduation rates, violent crime reports, sex offender concentration and more when tallying up the score.
Not only does Carmel have low crime rates, but it’s also a safe city for motorists. Because the city has 122 roundabouts, as of January 2019, there are fewer auto accidents with serious injuries. In the past two decades, Carmel’s population has tripled but the number of serious injury accidents has remained the same, which means a dramatic drop when you crunch per capita numbers. Sure, there are side swipes that take out a side mirror but the design of roundabouts reduce the likelihood of a head-on collison which makes a father feel safe when he has his newborn daughter in the back carseat.
For me personally, I couldn’t live in a really small town. I’d be too bored. But a big city would be stressful for me. I hate sitting in traffic or dealing with large crowds. I think Carmel is the perfect size for my family. Busy enough that there’s plenty to do but not as crowded as downtown Indianapolis. When my daughter gets older I look forward to taking her to watch plays at The Center for the Peforming Arts, eat breakfast at the Carmel Farmers Market, check out books at the Carmel Clay Library, ice skate at The Ice at Center Green, watch fireworks at CarmelFest and walk our two dogs along the soon-to-be widened Monon Greenway. Probably the thing I look forward to most is taking her to the parks. I’ll sign her up for swim lessons at the Monon Communty Center when she’s old enough and let her play at the playground at the Central Park West Commons, which is state of the art. It’s amazing to think that when Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard took office in 1996 there were only 40 acres of park land in the city. Now there’s nearly 1,000 acres.