Voices » Ask Renee

Ask Renee: A message to send your legislators concerning the Crown Hill Woods

Let Hogsett and Donnelly know that you want to save Crown Hill's old-growth forest


  • Flickr/ Indiana Forest Alliance
The General Assembly is back in session, which means it’s time to start writing and calling your legislators again! I’ve drafted a few messages on some issues that are important to me that I thought I’d share with you. Please feel free to borrow from me, but try to personalize your message so it is authentic and not canned.

Suggested email message:

Dear Mayor Hogsett,

While I certainly appreciate your sentiments in your statement regarding the old-growth forest at Crown Hill, I believe it is your responsibility to take real action to protect this treasure in our city. Your statement encouraging engagement on the Crown Hill Woods conversation clearly shows that you understand the significance of these woods; however, stating that the City has no authority and suggesting that those involved "identify ways to improve this project" is not acceptable action.

Have you contacted the Department of Veterans Affairs and your federal representatives to ask that they work with all parties involved to protect this historic land in Indianapolis? Have you encouraged them to accept the Dr. Laura Hare Charitable Trust offer to purchase and protect this forest? Have you offered for the City to be part of the solution by working with the Department of Veterans Affairs to find an appropriate location to honor the lives and service of Veterans? Beyond issuing a 103-word statement, what have you done to stop the destruction of Crown Hill Woods?

As the Mayor, you may not have authority in this federal transaction, but you have a responsibility to influence decision-makers about what happens in the City of Indianapolis.

Destroying an old-growth forest is not the best way to honor our Veterans and the natural heritage of Indianapolis. Don't let this forest — these trees, this habitat, this educational land, this sacred space that connects us to times before Indianapolis was even a place — be destroyed on your watch. Please take a stand.

Renee Sweany

Other thoughts from Indiana Forest Alliance:

During a door-to-door canvas, residents in neighborhoods surrounding Crown Hill (YOUR constituents) were very unhappy about the plans that would destroy this forest.
The VA believes this project is going to honor veterans. Mayor Hogsett could ask the VA to honor the veterans with this noble project at another location, and could broker a dialogue about there that location could be.

This land could be preserved as a Veterans Nature Preserve/Park, honoring Veterans, protecting the inner city’s natural heritage, and raising the quality of life in the neighborhood.

Message to Senator Donnelly:

I encourage you to actively advocate for an alternative location for the VA columbaria. The old-growth forest of Crown Hill Woods is home to 300+ year old trees and a vibrant ecosystem. Please work with the US Department of Veterans Affairs to find a better way to honor our Veterans while also respecting Indiana's natural heritage.


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