Crown Hill Old-Growth Forest Temporarily Saved
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Crown Hill Cemetery have agreed to move a columbarium project in the urban cemetery to another location on their property not already occupied by a 500-yearold forest. The Indiana Forest Alliance (IFA) was notified of the project by an Indianapolis resident after vague attempts by officials to advertise public hearings went unnoticed. When discovered, the IFA mobilized the community and veterans opposed to the plan.
When all legal channels to save the forest had failed and destruction crews began working in March, a group of 11 Indianapolis residents—including four veterans, local small business owners, the director of Fishable Indiana Streams for Hoosiers, a 15-year-old tree climber and City Councilor Zach Adamson—trespassed onto the property to block equipment and demand a different solution. After an outpouring of support, including more than 500 calls to the VA in one weekend, a stop work order was issued with a promise to open dialogue about other potential sites, which, in May, yielded the decision to move the project.
A proposal to demolish the woods for commercial development in 2007 was also halted due to community outrage, causing advocates for the forest to believe this is only a temporary victory. Crown Hill Cemetery must now decide whether or not to sell the land to a trust offering to purchase it for preservation. Residents of Greater Indy are encouraged to call, write and visit Crown Hill to encourage this sale to permanently save this last old growth forest in Indianapolis.
Crown Hill Cemetery is located at 700 W. 38th St., Indianapolis. To show support for permanently saving Crown Hill Forest, call 317-925-3800 or email [email protected].
For news and updates on Crown Hill Forest, follow the Indiana Forest Alliance and the Crown Hill Forest Protectors on Facebook and Twitter.