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Construction stops in Crown Hill Woods amid protests

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Protesters set their stand behind the fence to protect the trees. - AMBER STEARNS
  • Amber Stearns
  • Protesters set their stand behind the fence to protect the trees.


About a dozen people were prepared to brave the snow and the cold to prevent construction crews from destroying the old growth forest in Crown Hill cemetery.

Fortunately, the group only had to brave the elements for a few hours.

An IMPD officer notified the group’s attorney, Russ Sipes, that a work order to stop construction at the site had been issued. A little bit of digging revealed that the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) issued the stop order until further notice. The National Cemetery Administration, a division of the DVA, will also re-open dialogue with the community at-large about the project.



The news came as the cold turned wet from the forecasted snow finally arriving in Indianapolis. The band of citizens dedicated to standing in the way of construction crews was prepared to stay until they were removed. Indianapolis city-county councilor Zach Adamson was among them — armed with a megaphone and materials to make any potential arrests a little difficult. Friends made coffee runs to provide liquid warmth. A neighbor who lived just a few houses away from the protest brought hot water, tea and tissues and offered her home for “potty breaks” to anyone who needed a restroom. Another concerned citizen stood with a trash bag at the ready to make sure what all believe to be sacred ground stayed clean.
A 15-year-old boy named Carter made his stand for the trees up close and personal. - AMBER STEARNS
  • Amber Stearns
  • A 15-year-old boy named Carter made his stand for the trees up close and personal.
Local law enforcement was prepared as well. Between 2-4 police cruisers stayed within sight of the protest area at all times. All officers remained in their cars and observed from a distance. Around the corner in the Christian Theological Seminary parking lot, IMPD had set up their staging area with the S.W.A.T. mobile command center and up to 10 additional officers at the ready.

Although the stop construction order is in place until further notice, there is a good chance the project will now be delayed until late fall. Construction crews had a limited window of opportunity to lessen the impact on the endangered species of bats that call the forest home. Once the bats migrate back to the forest, that window will be gone until they leave again for winter.
AMBER STEARNS
  • Amber Stearns
Protesters are aware that this is just a victory in battle and not in the war. But there is hope that with communication lines re-opened, their pleas will finally be heard by the DVA and all alternatives will be explored.

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